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2024 NBA Draft Prospect Discussion: Nikola Topic

Topic will likely be off the board before the 13th pick, but would be an intriguing prospect if he slides.
By | 44 Comments | Jun 6, 2024

Via EuroLeague Basketball

The 2024 NBA Draft will be held on Wednesday, June 26th and Thursday, June 27th. Our resident draft expert Bryant has semi-retired from draft scouting, so we won’t have his usual in-depth breakdowns to rely on. So we’re going to do our draft coverage a little differently this year. We’ll present some prospects, share some highlight videos, and share some general thoughts before opening it up to the group to discuss. 

Today we are reviewing Nikola Topic, an intriguing player who may not even be available at the 13th pick.

NBA Position: Guard

General Info: 18-years-old, played at KK Mega Basket and Crvena zvezda of the Serbian KLS. From Novi Sad, Serbia.

Measurables: 6’6″, 200 lbs, 6’8″ wingspan (Note: I could not find official measurements for Topic, so I am using measurements listed by The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor)

2023-2024 Season Statistics (Crvena zvezda): 14.5 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 5.0 APG, 0.0 SPG, 0.5 BPG, 2.5 TPG (2 games played, 31.0 minutes per game), 39.1% FG, 30.0% 3P, 88.9% FT
2023-2024 Season Statistics (KK Mega Basket): 18.4 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 7.1 APG, 1.0 SPG, 0.2 BPG, 3.2 TPG (12 games played, 33.8 minutes per game), 52.3% FG, 25.9% 3P, 85.5% FT

 

Most mock drafts have Nikola Topic going several picks higher than 13th. Our friend Brett Huff’s Consensus Big Board (which compiles all the mock drafts out there to give us an average placement among the experts) currently has Topic 3rd overall, to the point where it seems silly for us to even look at him. And yet, there’s reason to believe he could slide a bit. The Ringer’s latest mock draft has him down to 8th, and ESPN’s Jonathan Givony reported Wednesday that Topic has been diagnosed with a partially torn ACL. Topic had missed considerable time this past season with a knee injury, and re-injured his knee shortly after returning to action. Concerns over multiple serious knee injuries at such a young age could be a reason for the Kings to be wary of Topic, but could also be the reason that a prospect like Topic could slide to the 13th pick. Should such a slide happen, it could be reminiscent of Michael Porter Jr sliding to the 15th pick and being snatched up by the Denver Nuggets.

Topic would be an imperfect but interesting fit with the Kings. He’s more of a guard, but has great size. 6’6″ with a 6’8″ wingspan, Topic creates mostly with the ball in his hands, and while he doesn’t look particularly fluid with the ball, he’s effective at navigating through defenses and finding the basket. The craftiness despite eye-popping athleticism is reminiscent of several other Euro stars who have made an impact in the NBA.

Despite the injuries, I’d be shocked if Topic actually falls to the 13th pick. The Spurs have both the 4th and 8th picks, and can afford to be patient as they build long term around Wemby. Even if Topic slips past the Spurs, he’d make a ton of sense for the Jazz at 10 or the Thunder (not based on need, but because OKC just grabs talented guys at every opportunity) at 12. Even if Topic is available at 13, I’m not sure Monte McNair would select him, as Topic is a big upside swing who will likely need a year or two before he can make a significant impact in the NBA. But sometimes the opportunity to add such a talented young player with upside is too good to pass up.

 

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Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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Nostradumbass 14
June 6, 2024 11:10 am

Josh Giddey lite and now with a knee injury. He doesn’t shoot from deep and will be targeted on defense. Not sure how he’d help this Kings roster already loaded with guards and hopes to retain Monk. He very well could be the falling knife at #13. Pass.

eddie41
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June 7, 2024 10:28 am
Reply to  Adamsite

yeah, he might fall to 13 with all the guards projected to go lottery. Kings have to know in advance what they would do if he’s still on the board.

eddie41
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June 7, 2024 11:35 am
Reply to  Adamsite

how about Austin Reeves as a comp for Topić? not a bad player.

BeTheBall
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June 6, 2024 11:13 am

Other than his name sounding similar to Jokic, nothing I’ve read about this guy really jumps out at me as “gotta have him”. On a draft sidenote, I’m worried Monte will draft for fit, rather than simply taking BPA regardless of position. The roster needs a heavy infusion of talented basketball players if they expect to be competitive in the next couple years.

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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June 6, 2024 11:23 am
Reply to  BeTheBall

I think in this draft in particular, BPA at #13 is really subjective. If Monte really feels whoever he drafts at #13 is better than anyone later in the draft, then more power to him, but I doubt it’s the case.

RikSmits
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June 6, 2024 11:42 am
Reply to  Adamsite

I don’t think Monte is looking at BPA. He’s looking at BPN.
I feel that if the Kings won’t advance beyond the 1st round next season, Monte’s seat will become very hot. So he’s probably looking for Best Player Now, either via a trade or the draft.

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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June 6, 2024 11:46 am
Reply to  RikSmits

Excellent point. From that, the players right around #13 that fit that bill are likely da Silva, Devin Carter, and Knecht (if he’s still on the board)

My money is still on the pick being packaged in trade.

Hamlet1989
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June 6, 2024 12:17 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

I like Carter. As a shooter who may not do a lot else immediately, Knecht may be better as a rookie, but once DC adjusts to NBA ball pressure I like his upside more. He’s like a younger, bigger version of Ellis with PG skills, and rebounds like a forward! Still needs to improve as a shooter…Da Silva? He could fill a role, but without a real ‘go-to’ skill I would hesitate. 3&D skills as a rookie? Maybe, but he’s not an elite shooter, and at his size I wouldn’t immediately trust the D. K. Edwards may be a better player right now.

delusionsofmediocrity
June 6, 2024 3:38 pm
Reply to  Hamlet1989

I just got done watching Carter highlights. I’m sold. He has deep 3 point range, shoots 38% from 3, moves without the basketball, and has more athleticism than I thought. I don’t care that he doesn’t fill a need.

eddie41
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June 6, 2024 3:46 pm

rumored to have a promise from Bulls at 11.

Jman1949
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June 7, 2024 12:57 pm
Reply to  eddie41

Looks like he’s also on the Spurs radar, but at least the Kings have taken a look:

Sources say the San Antonio Spurs are high on Devin Carter, who just completed workouts with the Sacramento Kings and Chicago Bulls. 3 hours ago – via Bleacher Report

murraytant
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June 6, 2024 12:17 pm
Reply to  RikSmits

Topic will not fall to 13 and that is good.
Knecht won’t fall either and that is a bad thing.
One fantasy option- Kings move 13 to Washington in a Kuzma deal but get the #28 back and draft DaRon Holmes.
At 13, Carter will probably be BPA. TDS is ok, just ok.

AmateurNerd
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June 6, 2024 2:23 pm
Reply to  RikSmits

I love the “BPN” take. MM seems to always draft BPN in the 1st round, and you can’t argue with the results so far. The BPN mentality can lead to some in-retrospect misses (passing on Sengun, for example), but it minimizes the odds of striking out. If the Kings’ biggest need is “more rotational talent,” drafting BPN is a winning strategy. It’s hard to complain too much about hitting singles and doubles (and the occasional home run [Hali]) every time at the plate.

kgdobter
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June 6, 2024 11:16 am

Reminds me of Kevin Huerter. Sorry, but I don’t think we need another guard. I think there are several players we should take that are bigs or long wings that are more suited for the Kings.

Hobby916
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June 6, 2024 1:02 pm
Reply to  kgdobter

Other than not being good defensively, their games are nothing alike.

Hamlet1989
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June 6, 2024 11:47 am

He could work out well as a ball-handler with size, if Monk leaves. Otherwise=trade asset?

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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June 6, 2024 1:22 pm
Reply to  Hamlet1989

It would be totally asinine to draft him then pay Monk to stay.

BeTheBall
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June 6, 2024 1:42 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

He’d be a couple years away from being NBA ready. At which point, if it actually happens, you have a trade asset in Monk.

Adamsite
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June 6, 2024 3:23 pm
Reply to  Greg

That’s some next level chess if you already know the moves you are going to make weeks after you pick at #13.

Also, Monte should not move Ellis and his steal of a deal unless it’s in package for a legit 3rd banana to go with Fox and Sabonis.

Jack
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June 6, 2024 5:25 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

Definitely keep Ellis and trade the#13.

AnybodyButBagley
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June 6, 2024 9:22 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

Halliburton goes to get Sabonis.

Ellis is untouchable?

BeTheBall
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June 6, 2024 11:02 pm

In my eyes, nobody on a non-playoff playoff team should be untouchable. Unfortunately, I think there are at least three players the front office views as such.

AnybodyButBagley
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June 7, 2024 12:08 pm
Reply to  BeTheBall

Sabonis is the only player we need to build around.

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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June 7, 2024 7:10 am

Did I say untouchable?

I”m pretty sure it wrote:

unless it’s in package for a legit 3rd banana to go with Fox and Sabonis.

That’s exactly the kind of move Hali was. He was a guy on a rookie deal playing above his pay and he, in package, netted the Kings an all-star.

Last edited 1 month ago by Adamsite
AnybodyButBagley
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June 7, 2024 12:12 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

Everyone is putting Ellis in the glass box and worshipping him.

No, you didn’t say he was untouchable but you laid out a very unique and highly unlikely situation that would warrant his trade.

We need basketball players that will play in a system that wins. Sabonis is the only player this team should build around in my opinion.

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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June 7, 2024 2:21 pm

How is it unlikely? Keon makes $2M next year, his contract would HAVE to be packaged in order to bring back significant talent.

Now if he were packaged with someone like Duarte to bring back some middling bench player in a salary match, Monte should be fired immediately. Keon is the cheapest starter in the league. You only trade him “in package” for a superior starter. It ain’t rocket surgery.

AnybodyButBagley
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June 8, 2024 10:04 am
Reply to  Adamsite

Keon doesn’t start on most teams. I actually do appreciate the fact that Keon has done something for this team. I don’t like the idea everyone thinks he is the savior and is a starter. The guy is a decent bench player.

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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June 6, 2024 12:03 pm

OT: Kings are working out late first round prospects including Kyshawn George, Carlton Carrington, and Dillon Jones.

murraytant
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June 6, 2024 12:18 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

is this a 13 for 28 switch?

Kfan
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June 6, 2024 12:26 pm
Reply to  murraytant

Barnes, Heurter and 13 for Reid, McDaniels and the 27, lol

Last edited 1 month ago by Kfan
Russ916
June 6, 2024 2:10 pm
Reply to  Kfan

That would be a big hard no for me if I were the Timberwolves. They get quite a bit worse defensively and edge out ahead slightly offensively while losing quite a bit of youth, while we come out as bandits with a pot of gold addressing many of our issues all at once, sounds too good to be true.

Hobby916
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June 6, 2024 1:07 pm
Reply to  murraytant

Doing their due diligence in case a trade happens. Carrington could be in the teens, George looks more likely to go in the 20’s-30’s, and Jones is a late 2nd round guy.

Interesting as they are all some kind of playmaker/creator, and two of them are guards.

eddie41
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June 6, 2024 4:15 pm
Reply to  Hobby916

take another look at Dillon Jones. we’ve been sleeping on him – maybe because of his three point percentage. but his catch and shoot percentage from three is decent and his FT percentage has always been good.

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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June 6, 2024 1:21 pm
Reply to  murraytant

Would it honestly surprise anyone if the Kings traded the #13 for a late first round pick and Cash Considerations/future 2nd round pick?

One I could totally see happening is the #13 and Huerter for the #29 and John Collins.

eddie41
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June 7, 2024 1:04 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

no thanks. the value of John Collins when traded by the Hawks was a future 2nd rounder. smoked by Ainge.

eddie41
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June 6, 2024 3:45 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

cool. of those three, I’d consider Dillon Jones at 13.

I thought Bub and Kyshawn should have withdrawn from the draft. However, it was fun watching Bub’s highlights against lesser competition.

UpgradedToQuestionable
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June 6, 2024 1:12 pm

An 18 year old tall guard, with unreliable 3 point game with a bad wheel.

And he gets paid around $12M/3 years guaranteed, (QO in 4th year at 42% increase). So he will get more than Keon Ellis, Colby Jones, Mason Jones. Which of these (or if Malik Monk signs) or other players does he get minutes from?

Personally, I like the idea of drafting him because of all the related puns:
Hot Topic, Off Topic, Topic of discussion, etc.

but otherwise… not so much. Maybe if he were 3-6 inches taller and 40+ lbs (8+ cm/20+ kg as he is in the EuroLeague).

BeTheBall
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June 6, 2024 1:40 pm

With a torn ACL and an incredibly raw skillset in need of some serious work to get to an NBA level, we probably don’t have to worry about him taking minutes from other players for at least this coming season, and probably more.

Jack
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June 6, 2024 2:30 pm
Reply to  BeTheBall

A question for adamsite. If you had the choice would you take Collins or Kuzma for a PW next to Sabonis?

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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June 6, 2024 3:20 pm
Reply to  Jack

Collins. It comes down to fit with usage, 3pt shooting, rim protection, and rebounding. Kuzma has the edge in playmaking, but that’s not a weak point for the Kings.

Jack
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June 6, 2024 5:28 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

OK I had to ask. We are on the same page and IMO we can get Collins for less than Kuzma.

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