Nikola Topic EuroLeague: Uncovering 7 Risky X-Factors That Impact His Dreams, Decisions And NBA Draft Stock

Nikola Topic 2024 NBA Draft

Nikola Topic is projected as a top 2024 NBA Draft prospect. But, in December of 2023, he told ESPN’s Jonathan Givony “My dream for many years has been to play for Red Star…” Red Star is a Euroleague team that Topic has been rooting for since his childhood. 

When the opportunity to play for the Euroleague’s Crvena Zvezda Meridianbet Belgrade club presented itself, Topic turned his dream into a reality. However, this decision didn’t come without the type of risks that could quickly turn a dream into a nightmare. 

So, what are these risks? And what factors and benefits make it worthwhile for Topic to pursue this dream despite the possibility of catastrophic consequences? 

Let’s take a look at the risks and benefits that factor into Nikola Topic’s decision to compete in the Euroleague six months before the 2024 NBA Draft.

The Risks

1. Potential Decline Of His Draft Stock 

When Nikola Topic left Mega MIS of the ABA League, he was well aware that he was transitioning to play for the best basketball league in Europe. His talents would be tested against and compared to better players. But, if Topic doesn’t perform up to expectations and/or gets exposed as a lesser talent in comparison to Euroleague players, his draft stock will more than likely quickly decline.

2. Injuries

In Topic’s defense it doesn’t matter where you play. Injuries are just a part of the game. This couldn’t be more evident at the beginning of January. Only two games into Topic’s Euroleague (Crvena Zvezda) journey he got injured. 

Topic, scheduled to be sidelined 4-6 weeks for a sprained knee is expected to make a mid February return. Once he returns, NBA front office execs will be sure to keep an eye on how this injury affects his play moving forward. Will this knee injury affect his ability to slash? 

Will this injury turn into a benefit that removes blame from skill level and NBA readiness if he doesn’t perform well after his return? 

The Benefits

3. Making A Case For The Number 1 Pick In The 2024 NBA Draft

This year’s NBA Draft currently doesn’t have a clear cut front runner. In some circles Nikola Topic’s name is being mentioned as the potential first pick. Playing in the EuroLeague provides Topic an opportunity to show that he can dominate against top tier players. 

However, due to the age hierarchy system within EuroLeague basketball, you have to wonder if Topic will receive enough playing time and opportunity to dominate? Or will Topic be able to dominate within the limited playing time he receives? In his first two games Topic only played a total of 32 minutes before going down with an injury.

4. More Exposure 

Competing in the Euroleague will provide more exposure than playing for Mega MIS in the ABA League. Not only will Nikola Topic often play in front of 20,000 Euroleague fans, he’ll also have more NBA front office eyeballs on him as he is now playing in the best league in Europe. 

5. Playing For Greek Coach Ioannis Sfairopoulos

Ioannis Sfairopoulos is credited with helping develop Deni Avdija into a top 10 NBA draft pick. Sfairopoulos coached and guided Maccabi Tel Aviv and a 19 year old Avdija to an Israeli League championship and MVP honors. Expect some of Sfairopoulos’s magic and tough love to influence Topic in a positive way.

6. Excellent Preparation To Become A Better Scorer In The NBA 

Luka Doncic believes that the NBA’s rules make it easier to score in comparison to the EuroLeague. The EuroLeague’s games are shorter which means players have less time to put points on the board. Plus the smaller courts cause more congestion and traffic jams especially when there is no three second rule. 

Bigs can chill in the paint for as long as they like. With rules like this it’s easy to see how barriers to score in the EuroLeague are present for slashing players like Topic. 

So, if Luka Doncic’s theory holds true this presents a golden opportunity for Nikola Topic to impress the NBA front offices that also believe it’s harder to score in the EuroLeague. If Topic shows that he can slash and dominate the EuroLeague with his scoring in the paint then his production should increase in the NBA right??

7. Fulfilling A Long Time Dream

Nikola Topic is confident in his abilities and believed from the beginning that he was ready for this EuroLeague assignment. Plus he’s fulfilling a long time dream in the process.

So Does The Risks Outweigh The Rewards?

Next, we want you to view Nikola Topic’s two game Crvena Zvezda highlights below and then read his scouting report. When you’re finished drop a comment and let us know if you think Nikola made the right decision to play in the Euroleague.

NikolaTopic Crvena Zvezda Highlights

Nikola Topic Scouting Report

Topic is a combo guard (primarily a point guard) with more than enough size for either backcourt position. At just 18 years old you can already see his potential to become a good player at the next level. Topic is currently projected as a top pick in the 2024 NBA Draft. 

What stands out the most about Topic’s game is the impact he makes by applying pressure to the defense with his ability to slash. He’s solid when creating off the dribble plus his first step is legit. 

Topic is sturdy, so he absorbs the contact en route to the basket. At the rim he’s a creative finisher despite being a beneath the rim guard. Topic finishes with both hands but often favors finishing with his right hand even when attacking to his left.

Side bar: There’s one major knock when it comes to Nikola Topic’s ball handling. He struggles and gets frazzled when ball hunting pressure is applied. Outside of attacking the basket, Topic is turnover prone and weak with the ball at times. Especially when putting it on the deck in crowded spaces and forcing against pressure.

Not only can Topic get to the rim off the dribble, he creates shot opportunities along the perimeter as well. He’s competent at creating space for his jump shot but knocking those shots down is still a work in progress. His shot mechanics are pretty fluid but he’s inefficient; especially from long distance. 

In addition to creating for himself off the dribble, Topic attacks, makes the drop off pass and finds shooters. His floor vision is on point and he’s a decent passer. However, he has his moments of being unable to get the ball where it needs to be with a clean pass. 

On the defensive end, at this stage of his career nothing really stands out about him. But, no need to label him as a defensive liability due to a lack of athleticism just yet, as others have. Many rookies coming into the league are defensive liabilities initially. So naturally he’ll be viewed in the same light. 

Despite occasionally appearing to be a lazy or aloof off ball defender while he chases his man as his arms dangle by his side, you’ll see that Topic defends with effort when you look past the superficial aspects of defense. Nikola Topic is just an average defender with the potential to become a good one. He’ll give you the effort you want to see, try his best to stay in front of his man and contest shots. 

Don’t forget, let us know what you think in the comments section!

Nikola Topic Stats (Per Game 2024 EuroLeague)


Nikola Topic In The News