It’s January 6, but it’s never too early for the 2024 draft. One of the players who has moved up some of the ranks NBA Draftniks Councils is Serbian Topic Nikola. But Topic would be out for about six weeks after suffering a knee injury while playing with Serbian club Crvena Zvezda, according to ESPN’s Jonathan Givony.
Tough news for Nikola Topic who injured his knee in his second Euroleague game, which will likely keep him out of action for about six weeks, a source told ESPN. Projected No. 5 pick in the 2024 NBA Draft. https://t.co/imGnlzzWxE
– Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) January 5, 2024
NBA Rumors: Projected 2024 Lottery Top 10 Pick Suffers Knee Injury
In just his third game with Red Star, Topic was injured midway through the third quarter of his club’s 88-72 win over arch rival Partizan Mozart on Thursday night. Despite all the efforts of the Red Star medical staff to try to bring him back into the match, Topic spent the rest of the outing in the locker room and on the bench.
Topic finished the game with three points, on 1 of 2 shooting from the field and 1 of 1 from the free throw line, three assists and two rebounds in 12 minutes of action.
18-year-old Nikola Topic showed up for the EuroLeague Serbian derby 😤pic.twitter.com/zVgC0IibFi
– BasketNews (@BasketNews_com) January 4, 2024
The 18-year-old was was reportedly seen visibly limping after the match, and the team announced he had sprained his knee.
Topic has started both of Red Star’s Euroleague games since returning from being loaned to fellow Serbian side Mega Basket, where he was expected to stay for the entire season.
Who is Nikola 20Topic?
Topic was born in August 2005 in Novi Sad, Serbia and Montenegro, and is the son of Milenko Topic, a Serbian coach and former professional player. Topic was identified early on as one of the top prospects in his homeland. After starting playing basketball in his hometown, the now 6-6 point guard joined Crvena Zezda’s youth team in 2020. He made his professional debut in 2022 at age 16 and became one of the most young players to have participated in a Euroleague competition at the age of 16. years and 253.
Topic signed his first professional contract this season, signing a 4-year deal with Crvena Zvezda in July. But Zezda decided to loan Topic to Mega Basket to allow him to play, which he got a lot of, averaging 33 minutes in 16 appearances.
Topic ranks among the leaders in several categories of the Serbian ABA league. He leads the league in assists and second in points. He is also third in free throws made, fifth in free throw attempts and third in free throw percentage. Overall, he is averaging 16.3 points, 3.6 rebounds and 6.1 on the season while producing a .498/.286/.878 shooting line in 19 combined appearances.
Topic has also been part of the Serbian junior national team since 2022 and received some accolades as a youth player. Subject was elected to the All-Tournament team at the Adidas Next Generation tournament finals and was the MVP of the ANGT Belgrade event. Last summer, Topic-led Serbia was named tournament MVP for leading Serbia to a gold medal at the U18 European Championship. He also made his national team debut in August as Serbia faced Puerto Rico in a friendly match.
Subject is considered a consensus top prospect in 2024, but he will see how the knee injury affects his draft stock. He has grown every year, although his natural gift is the ability to score.
Subject has the body type and skills needed to develop and become stronger. With added athleticism, Topic is extremely quick off the dribble when going downhill and is a good finisher at the rim. Topic has demonstrated the ability to lead an offense, has excellent handles and is an exceptional passer. While Topic isn’t a high-percentage 3-point shooter at this point, he has good range and an extremely quick release. Defense and rebounding are also areas that need improvement.