Nikola Topić injury: Projected top-10 pick in 2024 NBA Draft could see stock fall after partially torn ACL

Projected lottery pick Nikola Topić, a potential top-five prospect in the 2024 NBA Draft, has been diagnosed with a partially torn ACL in his left knee after suffering an injury late in May during Adriatic League playoff action, his agent told ESPN. Topić sustained the injury May 27 vs. Partizan in an aggravation from a previous left knee injury from earlier this year. A timetable for his recovery at this point is unclear.

Topić’s injury was confirmed this week during the NBA’s international combine in Treviso, Italy, where he underwent imaging that revealed the extent of the tear. His agent told ESPN that his client’s draft stock is unlikely to be significantly impacted, though ACL tears typically require surgery and an extensive rehabilitation process, which could impact how teams view him in the draft later this month.

In a draft class that has largely been seen as lacking star power at the top, Topić, ranked No. 5 on the CBS Sports Big Board, is one of the few this cycle who presents massive long-term potential. He had a breakout season with Mega MIS in Serbia, averaging 18.6 points and 6.9 assists per game while emerging as one of the preeminent playmakers in the class. 

New rules in the CBA dictate that teams picking in the top half of the first round of the 2024 NBA Draft will receive Topić’s medicals in accordance with the new deal signed last year. Topić’s involvement at the Combine — which required imaging and interviews — is also a first spurred by the new CBA after top prospects in recent years opted against participating or doing so only in a limited fashion.

Teams picking near the top of the draft have a few weeks to do their own diligence and determine how, if at all, his stock might be impacted by his impending knee recovery ahead of the start of the draft on June 26. For now, instant reaction from scouts at the NBA level suggest some skepticism that his stock will be unaffected.

Draft fallout

While the initial report expressed optimism that the injury would not have a major impact on Topić’s draft stock, scouts are already expressing some skepticism behind the scenes. 

At the heart of the disconnect is the relevance of a partial tear vs. a full tear. For those of us who don’t need to perform like a professional athlete, a partial tear can often heal itself. For NBA players, such an injury often requires surgery to return to peak performance. 

Danilo Gallinari serves as a cautionary case study. He suffered a knee injury in April of 2013 that ultimately required two different procedures and ended up costing him all of the 2013-14 season — this after initially electing to allow the partially torn ACL to heal itself.

While we don’t yet know how similar Topić’s injury is to Gallinari’s, we do know that he has had previous knee problems. If he does, in fact, require surgery, it is possible he misses all of the 2024-25 season.

In other words, the proposition of drafting Topić now looks much murkier for any team looking for an immediate return on that investment. For teams who own significant future draft capital like Oklahoma City, San Antonio, New York, or Utah, maybe such a delay isn’t as relevant. For teams on a tighter time frame, this news may prove to be too much of a deterrent.

Source link

About The Author

Scroll to Top