by J.T. Toth
Photo courtesy of Sports Illustrated.
At Draft Nation, the NBA draft talk never ends. We will get you ready for the 2024 draft with player profiles and mock drafts so you can see who your favorite team may add to their roster.
Today’s Spotlight - Crvena zvezda (Serbia), Point Guard, Nikola Topić
Name- Nikola Topić
Pos- Point Guard
Team- Crvena zvezda (Serbia)
HT/WT- 6’6” 201 lbs.
Home – Novi Sad, Serbia and Montenegro
Nikola Topić is one of the younger prospects in the draft and on draft night, will be turning 18. He made his professional debut in March of 2022 as only a 16-year-old, becoming the youngest player in club’s history to score points for Crvena zvezda in the ABA league. On April 1, 2022, he made his debut in the EuroLeague, becoming one of the youngest players in league history.
At the start of the 2022-2023 season, he was loaned to the Serbian team Slodes where he played in a limited role. He averaged 3.4 points over 7 ABA games but his season wasn’t over, and he was again loaned to a different team—OKK Beogard. With OKK Beogard, he appeared in 19 games and averaged 17.8 points on 55.2% shooting, 5.3 assists and 3.8 rebounds per game. This season, Topić was loaned to the Serbian team Mega. He averaged 18.6 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 3.7 assists in 13 games.
Topić is a versatile player who can play point guard, shooting guard or small forward. He has a high basketball IQ even for his age and does well facilitating the offense for his squad. He plays with vision and is able to create off the dribble by either penetrating or dishing the ball and cutting to the hoop. He will be a matchup problem with his size and length and will be an asset on defense with his rebounding and his shot blocking for his position.
As a point guard, he has the capability of creating his own shots off the dribble and will be a handful for smaller point guards to match up against. He is athletic and can make plays in the lane with the body control to change his shot angles and still be successful.
When shooting the ball, Topić has a fluid jump shot with good technique. He is a weapon from midrange with his jumper and is quick to release the ball off of screens. When he is not manning the point guard position, he is very active off the ball and knows when to cut or find an opening in the defense. When driving the ball, he excels at using both hands when attacking the basket, making it hard to overcommit to a certain side.
Topić however is still very raw and will need a little more time than the other lottery picks in this class. He is a streaky shooter and lacks the consistency on his outside shot, which can be improved over time with more reps. On offense, he tends to over-dribble when running the play and will turn the ball over as a result. Though he is a matchup nightmare for the smaller guards to play against, the faster, athletic point guards will be a handful for Topić to cover. He is not much of a threat beyond the arc and will have to improve in this area, especially if he plays a lot of point guard.
A good comparison to Topić is Luka Doncic who at 6’7” can run an offense and on defense be matched up against small forwards. Draft Nation is not saying that Topić is anywhere near Doncic in regards to scoring, but the style they play is very comparable. Doncic has continually improved each season in the NBA and is averaging 33.6 points a game this season. Chances are that Topić never gets to that stratosphere, but he has the intangibles and the ceiling to become a starter at point guard, shooting guard or small forward.
Consistency with shooting
Nikola Topić will be a lottery ticket with a high ceiling. The NBA is always changing and point guards are getting bigger and are able to play all over the court. Topić is a prospect a team shouldn’t expect results from overnight, but in a couple of years, their patience may pay off.
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