Should Miami Heat target Nikola Topic if he falls to No. 15?

Nikola Topic
Nikola Topic, 18, won two ABA League championships, one Serbian Cup title and the 2023 FIBA U18 European Championship MVP. (Photo: Misko Raznatovic // @misko4raznatovic on IG)

There’s Denver Nuggets superstar Nikola Jokic, a three-time MVP who’s arguably the best player in the world. There’s Nikola Jovic, the Miami Heat’s 2022 NBA Draft selection at No. 27 overall, who has turned into a starting-caliber wing. And then there’s Nikola Topic, a 6-foot-6 guard who’s one of the best at his position heading into the 2024 NBA Draft, which begins in three weeks on June 26.

Though it was reported Wednesday by ESPN NBA Draft Analyst Jonathan Givony that Topic, one of 2024’s top prospects, has a partially torn ACL in his left knee.

The 18-year-old is a consensus top-3 prospect in the 2024 NBA Draft, according to NBA Draft Room’s consensus big board. He’s graded ahead of potential top-5 picks Reed Sheppard, Donovan Clingan and Zaccharie Risacher, among others.

That begs the question: If he begins to fall as a result of his injury, should the Heat, who own the No. 15 pick, select him?

I already know your first thought: Why would the Heat, one of the most injured teams last year, who deployed 35 different starting lineups, target another injured player with knee concerns?

I understand.

There’s no real clarity on what his recovery timetable looks like. Topic said this week that his knee is not fully healed nor has he begun running or practicing with a basketball.

That could limit him from working out with teams ahead of the draft. The prognosis was revealed during the international NBA Draft Combine in Italy this week. Topic injured the knee in January before re-injuring it again in May, when his professional team, Crvena Zvezda, competed in the Adriatic League Finals (Serbia).

All that said: This is a gamble work taking, in my view, with the No. 15 pick.

Listed at 6-foot-6, he averaged 18.4 points, 3.6 rebounds, 7.1 assists and one steal on 52.3 percent shooting, including 25.9 percent from 3-point range (4.5 3PA) and 85.5 percent from the free-throw line in 12 games with KK Mega Basket, where he was loaned for the majority of the 2023-24 season.

Topic is arguably the best pick-and-roll playmaker in this class. He’s also very good at attacking the basket, using an array of moves plus very good change-of-pace to get to his spots in the lane. His 3-point shot could use some development, though his free-throw shooting and touch around the rim suggest he could be a capable 3-point threat at the next level.

Topic is a more accomplished prospect than Jovic, who played professionally with Mega Basket for two seasons, was at this stage. Topic’s won two ABA League championships and one Serbian Cup title. He also made the All-ABA League Team and was named the 2023 FIBA U18 European Championship MVP after averaging 15.3 points, 3.7 rebounds, 5.1 assists and two steals on 47.4 percent shooting and 57.8 percent true shooting across seven games.

He has one of the highest ceilings in the class, regardless of his injury concerns. Point. Blank. Period.

There’s no guarantee that the Topic falls outside the top-10, let alone the lottery. The San Antonio Spurs own two top-8 picks (No. 4, 8) while the Portland Trail Blazers own picks No. 7 and 14, respectively. Organizations like the Charlotte Hornets, Utah Jazz and Chicago Bulls–who own the No. 6, 10 and 11 picks, respectively–could look to target Topic if he falls out of the top-5, assuming a team from outside of the lottery trades up to nab him.

According to Givony, his agent, Misko Raznatovic, stated that he does not expect the injury to have a “major impact” on Topic’s draft stock due to “his youth and initial feedback from U.S. doctors who have reviewed his MRIs.”

On one hand, an agent is supposed to protect his client and keep his stock as high as possible; no agent should publicly admit that it would affect his stock. One another, there could be some truth to that statement. We truly won’t know until June 26.

Though, according to ESPN’s Jeremy Woo, there’s a possibility that Topic’s injury could affect his placement in the “lottery hierarchy.”

“He sustained multiple knee injuries this season, returning in April before injuring himself again a few weeks later, and his health status looks likely to impact his place in the lottery hierarchy,” Woo wrote last week, pinging Topic go No. 10 to Utah. “Teams drafting in the top 15 will receive his medicals, in accordance with the NBA’s new collective bargaining rules.

“Topic’s size, basketball IQ and playmaking skills make him an intriguing long-term player and a potential value pick should he end up in the back part of the lottery.”

Let’s not forget that the Miami Heat were a bottom-third offense for the second straight year. If Erik Spoelstra gets his hands on a 6-foot-6 18-year-old–who reportedly has a 7-foot wingspan–lead guard with much upside as a primary shot creator, who knows what his ceiling could be. He already has professional experience and still has room to grow, figuratively and literally.

Should Nikola Topic be available at No. 15, I would probably partially tear my ACL trying to get the card to Adam Silver. He’s a prospect worth gambling on at No. 15, injuries aside.

What would you do if you were the Heat, should he fall outside of the lottery?

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SunManFromDogBone

Another interesting mock draft. These projections are going to be all over the board between now and draft day. https://www.nbadraft.net/nba-mock-draft.This one has:#8 Rob Dillingham going to San Antonio#12 Kel’el Ware (C) to OKC#13 Donovan Clingan (C) to Sacramento#15 Terrence Shannon to Miami#16 Nikola Topic to Philadelphia#22 Kyle Filipowski (C) to Phoenix#23 Yves Missi (C) to Milwaukee#24 Isaiah Collier to New York#26 Jared McCain to Washington#30 Tristan DaSilva to Boston#32 Zach Edey (C) to Utah#43 Kashad Johnson to Miami#52 Bronny James to Washington

Last edited 14 days ago by SunManFromDogBone
SunManFromDogBone

P.S. Read the scouting reports on players (the good, the bad and the ugly). Very interesting.

Last edited 14 days ago by SunManFromDogBone
2qbn

Givony from ESPN said Holland worked out for the Heat and has the Heat as a team interested in Edey.

heat for life

that must be the 2qbn mock draft not a big edey fan.joker not very quick either

SunManFromDogBone

Very interesting latest mock draft. Edey going #12 to OKC makes sense. 19.4 year old Rob Dillingham to Miami at #15 and 23.9 year old Terrence Shannon at #43…not so much.

https://nbadraft.theringer.com/mock-draft

oregoner

Ringer draft is usually pretty reliable. It’s based on intel, instead of who they think is the ‘best player available’. That said, it’s still a few weeks away until the draft. If this mock-draft is near accurate, i would rather get Collier. But I wouldn’t be shocked to see the Heat draft a ballhandler from Kentucky. It actually makes a mountain of sense.

SunManFromDogBone

I hope Pat doesn’t think Heat can be competitive against today’s NBA with Bam at C, Jovic at PF, Butler’s health and athleticism declining and Herro making no progress at ever becoming a two-way player. Ain’t gonna happen.

oregoner

I think it’s safe to assume Pat is not planning to run it back next season with the same team as last season.

heat for life

if healthy thats a big if .can compete with nay team with the addition of a good 7footer,

2qbn

That draft would be depressing. My dude Ware now going top 10. Other HHH faves like Carter and Edey gone. I’m not crazy about a 6’1 guy when we currently have Porter. Obviously whoever the Heat take I’ll be excited because I fully trust their evaluations.

I think DeSilva will be this drafts Jaime. A guy you can plug and play. His ceiling isn’t is high as others drafted around him, but a playoff team will gladly roll with a guy like that.

Big_guy305

The draft is a guessing game tbh, especially with a lackluster class like this. Almost every pick will be a reach because this draft class is the weakest since probably the Giannis draft. Let’s say edey,ware, and ware all go top 10, which I don’t see that happening. That would mean more top 10 talent would drop to us. Players like topic,Williams,Holland, matas or Dillingham would drop us to us. So that’s why we should go bpa for position of need or who fits the system the best. After the first 2 picks, you don’t know where anyone will go. No draft expert in the world will know, what player a team goes to. Holland and topic was a top 5 pick like the beginning of year, now we have a chance at getting them because this draft is such a crap shoot.

heat for life

can jovic be porzingis

oregoner

Jovic can rebound and handle the ball better than Zinger. Zing is a better defensive anchor and rim protector, hopefully Jovic can develop that. if he can, him and Bam would be a ferocius defensive tandem.

Otherwise his ceiling is a Lauri Markkanan type. Good shooter, good rebounder, can anchor a pick and roll on offense, but he can’t anchor the paint on defense defense. Even still, a good partner for Bam.

2qbn

I’ve been saying over and over 7 footers that can shoot, not plodding @$$ non-shooter dudes.

heat for life

not to many of those around.

2qbn

Which is why Denver won. Which is why Boston has a very good chance. Why the 76ers get talked about as contenders, even though Embiid will never make a full run due to injury. But if the Heat get a chance at Ware or Holmes they have to take it, not an Edey

heat for life

edey was the best player in college last year .of course its college at 7 4 300 solid pounds hes so fkn big hard to pass on that,not familiar with holmes ware.

heat for life

need to have a dude that can look joker eye to eye .bam has to look way up

SunManFromDogBone

Porzingas is injury prone. He has averaged 51 games per year over his 9 year career.

heat for life

will porzingis make it the whole series.those long legs always fk up.

heat for life

dj ainge bird parrish mchale best starting 5 ever?

SunManFromDogBone

1972 Lakers weren’t too bad either. Gail Goodrich (G) Jerry West (G) Elgin Baylor (F) Happy Hairston (F) Wilt Chamberlain (C)

heat for life

magic cooper worthy rambis kareem?

oregoner

no way. Best starting-5 ever is Bosh, Battier, LeBron, Wade, and Ray Allen

Last edited 14 days ago by oregoner
heat for life

could be.should have won a ring every year with those guys

oregoner

they went to the Finals every year and won half of them

Reality Czech

So many teams with the greatest players in history didn’t win every year. LeBron, Irving, Love. Shaq, Kobe. Magic, Kareem, Worthy, Bird, McHale, Parish. KG, Pierce, Allen. Steph, Klay, Green. MJ, Pippin, Rodman. Only someone who is perennially negative can suggest that 4 year period wasn’t a great success. Only 13 teams in more than 70 years have ever won back to back. And for those who say any coach could’ve won with that lineup ? – that is 100% true of all the coaches who had the above players.

heat for life

i miss jvg and mj

heat for life

luka never looks nervous .jt thats a diff story

Reality Czech

I will be rooting, not picking, for Dallas in this series. After the Heat were knocked out, the only thing I hoped for was that neither Denver nor Boston win the championship.
Celtics have better personnel overall, but Doncic/Irving can take over a game. Should be entertaining.

heat for life

Boston hasnt beaten anybody,west teams were stronger overall.lal gsw were playin teams in west.dallas doesnt have a legit 3rd option .if they lose id be looking down here to snap butler away.a package with gafford would be nice to pair with bam.we;ve all seen jt and jb come up short first hand.Think boston wins though with the addition of holiday and porzingis.Hope it goes 7

SunManFromDogBone

The enemy of my enemy is my friend.

Dallas earned their way to the “Big Dance.” They convicingly beat three very good teams…Clippers, Thunder and T’Wolves. Boston beat three mediocre teams…Heat, Cavs and Pacers whose best players were injured.

With all due respect, I hope Dallas kicks the shit out of Boston.

heat for life

no rooting interest .only root for heat.hope it goes 7

swampshark

Yeah I think the Heat would have to take him if he were to fall into their laps. You can’t pass on a player with that much upside because he may take some time to develop, that would be dumb and short sighted.
But the chances of that happening are very slim. He’s going to be highly coveted and the injury doesn’t appear to be career threatening.

Aside from the unlikelihood of a consensus top 5 pick falling to 15 my preferences would be for the Heat to go big and they’re 2 bigs I like that are likely to be still on the board when the Heat select at 15 and thats Kel’el Ware or DaRon Holmes.
I’d be happy with either one.
I can definitely see a future frontcourt of Bam, Ware/Holmes and Jovic.
Both Ware and Holmes have burgeoning 3 point shots and both have pretty good mechanics on their jumpers so it shouldn’t be to hard for them to become at least decent shooters on the nba level.
And on the defensive end they’re both 2 pretty mobile bigs who rebound well and defend the basket.
I think either player would have a long career with the Heat.

2qbn

I’ve been on that Ware train for a bit which makes me think he gets drafted right before the Heat

Reality Czech

Yeah, and with our luck, the person drafted right after us turns into another Maxey or Booker 🙄

Big_guy305

I agree with with you, ware and holmes are some of the best 2 way bigs in the draft. Plus they would fit miami heat system to a tee. Both would be versatile on D with a burgeoning 3 pt shot, both shot over 37 percent from beyond the arc. Also can’t sleep on carter, the best way 2 way guard in the draft, who was practically born heat culture, since his Dad was or still is a coach with us.

heat for life

antonys kid?hes no longer here

2qbn

Carter won’t be there. His testing at the combine was bonkers. My guess is he goes between 9-14

Big_guy305

We shall see, even if we don’t get him, we still got some choices in our range.

HHHFAN4Life

Also its being reported that a team in the lottery promised to pick him

heat for life

2 best players are ics

oregoner

y’all are crazy. Miami never picks at the top of the draft. If they get a chance at a blue-chip prospect, and the cost is spending a year helping him recover from an injury while helping him physically, mentally, and emotionally prepare for the NBA, you do that 11 times out of 10

vagibugi

He reminds a bit on Luka at his age.

Big_guy305

Feel like he could be a dragic Luka hybrid

meda

Topic will not slip to position 15, but another Serbian player, Nikola Djurisic, could be available at position 43.

SunManFromDogBone

I think Heat are looking for NBA ready players, not young players who require years to develop (e.g., another Jovic). Plus, they need interior help (scoring, rebounding, defense, blocks, etc.).

Quayzeze305

There’s no proof of this thinking this team is NOT trying to win now that’s why you take a Jovic and you DONT trade a Herro when his values the highest for 4 years in a row . Personally, I don’t have a problem with a younger rookie. Move up to # 5; off one of the Herro or Robinson . You draft your favorite guy and free up some cap for free agency a week later .

2qbn

So the year the Heat drafted Jovic they made The Finals and they weren’t trying to win. I personally can’t wait until they start trying to win. We’ll finally be cooking with gas. 😉

All jokes aside, Jovic has a chance to be in the MIP conversation to go along with JJJ. Add a talented rookie and that is a nice bit of talented youth. I also think the team is going to try to elevate Alondes Williams. Will he be the next Heat project to pop? They appear to think so.

Quayzeze305

You do realize Niko didn’t even play in those playoffs so your comment is complete and utter garbage in the context of him contributing to a Win Now team .
The undrafted bs has to stop we have zero rings in 10 yrs .Last two finals appearances we lost due to over relying on small undrafted players . But you boast about Alondes when we had the 21st ranked offense !?? smh you guys never learn.

We have to stop falling in love with these young players. Our books are cooked. Draft picks are scarce. Star chasing is a pipe dream . With this being a weak draft have to use that as an opportunity to move Herro,Duncan,and or Terry. F.A. Is where there’s real seasoned talent that can compete none of this stupidity they been doing going on six years . Otherwise just trade Jimmy to a team that’s really trying to go ALL IN . .

Reality Czech

There is no ‘proof’ of anybody’s line of thinking at this point. The proof will be in the transactions and the ensuing results. Also, I’m not sure I understand your proposal to move up to the #5 pick.

Big_guy305

I wouldn’t move up in this crappy draft, when there is talent just as good at our position.

Reality Czech

Good point

Quayzeze305

Trade Jaime or Nikola. Duncan and Or Tyler . As well as #15 for #5 draft PG of the future(Castle) . Detroit needs veterans and Monty and their new POBO may not want another rookie . You free up nearly 10-30 million in cap space for the start of free agency . While also having two medium size contracts ;I.e (whoever isn’t traded in that draft day trade) ,S&T plays and some money to play with to target role players . This is the best time to make a trade during draft day . I think waiting any longer will be a fiasco like last offseason .

P.S. I’d take castle and the cap space rather than being stuck with Ty and Dunc and running it back in a heartbeat . So yes I’d trade Jaime and Nikola to accomplish this .

SunManFromDogBone

If Miami was in a rebuilding mode, he would be a good pick to develop for the future. If Miami wants to win now, they will pick a rotation player who is ready to contribute on day 1. The team has players to develop now (Jovic, Swider, Williams, Cain, ORobinson, etc.). They don’t need an 18 year old with an ACL problem sitting out part of the season or sitting on the end of the bench or down in G League if they can have a contributor in the rotation.

Quayzeze305

I’m not talking about Topic I’m a Castle guy .

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