Evaluating Nikola Topic, Nikola Djurisic, and Luka Scuka in an Adriatic League Basketball Game
October 6th, 2023
By Alan Lu
This time around, I decided to watch Mega Basket’s 6-5 guard Nikola Topic play in a September 30th, Adriatic League game against Cedevita Olimpija, with thanks to YouTube via ABA Liga j.t.d. Topic is an agile, skilled playmaker that has been moving up draft boards due to his strong performances earlier this year, and he has been receiving significant draft buzz lately. It also was another opportunity to watch Mega Bemax’s 6-8 forward, Nikola Djurisic play. Here are my thoughts on how they fared, as well as how their games may stack up as prospects for the NBA. Also, for those of you that are interested in the box score of this game, here is the link.
Mega Bemax’s 6-5 guard, Nikola Topic scored 25 points in his team’s loss to Cedevita Olimpija, and he showed a great ability to score as a downhill driver in this game.
(Photo: Ales Fevzer/Cedevita Olimpija, via ABA Liga)
Nikola Topic had a satisfactory showing in his team’s loss to Cedevita Olimpija. He is an offensively skilled playmaker that thrived at attacking the hoop to score and get assists, and he was very efficient in scoring the basketball, but he struggled with his outside shot, was turnover prone, and struggled defensively in this game.
Topic did a terrific job of scoring on aggressive drives to the hoop. He has a quick first step, and while he prefers to go to his left, he can use either hand to finish plays at the rim. He showed good balance, scoring touch, and finishing ability, and he would use dribble moves to score on crafty layups. He showed good speed to get to the rim, and he showed that he can consistently score in traffic. Plus, he also was able to pull up to make a three-pointer once. However, Topic didn’t shoot the ball very well from the outside, and he had trouble making threes consistently off the catch or dribble.
As a playmaker, Topic looked to be about average. For the positives, he was the team’s primary ball handler, and he is an aggressive playmaker that would push the pace, throw quick outlet passes, and would make drive and kick passes to find the open man. He showed that he can ably find open teammates on the move. Sometimes though, he would play way too fast and out of control, and he would be prone to rushing and over-dribbling that would lead him to commit lots of turnovers. He would tend too over-dribble and go too fast, which would lead him to commit ball-handling turnovers. Other times, he would throw rushed passes that would go astray. In the half-court, he had a tendency to hold the ball and dribble around aimlessly for too long, which would cause the offense to stagnate and be too predictable at times.
He also did a decent job of rebounding the basketball. Topic would aggressively crash the glass to get boards on both ends of the floor, and he would sometimes push the pace quickly after getting defensive boards.
Defensively, Topic looked to be about average at best. For the positives, he is a willing help defender, and Topic was able to rotate to block a shot hard off of a drive due to possessing solid athleticism, timing, and instincts. He also would play passing lanes and was able to deflect a pass to a teammate to help his team get a steal. When he would stay in front of opposing ball handlers, it would enable him to force turnovers and misses on the floor.
However, he would tend to struggle to guard opposing ball handlers, and he would tend to get beat off the dribble, which would lead him to allow scores. Other times, he would play too aggressively, as he would over-rotate and miss on steal attempts, and he would wind up being out of position. Other times, he would be late to rotate, and his team would end up giving up open shots to their opponents.
In general, Nikola Topic excelled as a scorer on offense, but he’ll need to improve in the other aspects of the game. He didn’t shoot the three-ball well, was too turnover prone, and made too many mistakes defensively. Still, he is an aggressive playmaker that can put the ball in the hoop and has solid athletic gifts, so he could end up being a solid pick for an NBA team in the late first to the second round range for the 2024 draft.
Nikola Djurisic is an athletic, skilled forward that played well, especially on offense in his team’s September 30th game against Cedevita Olimpija.
(Photo: Dragana Stjepanovic/ABA League j.t.d.)
Nikola Djurisic also played well in his team’s loss to Cedevita Olimpija. He excelled as a shooter and scorer on the floor, and he was able to make some solid plays on both ends of the floor.
Djurisic showed a solid ability to score off the dribble. He particularly excelled at going to his right, and he showed solid balance, body control, and finishing ability to regularly score at the rim. He also shot the ball very well from the outside. He showed a knack for making spot-up threes off the catch, and he was able to make one three from deep. He also used a behind-the-back dribble move to pull up to make a mid-range jumper smoothly another time.
As a playmaker, he looked to be about average at best. On the other hand, he was a bit turnover prone in this game. On one good play, Djurisic was able to make a quick, drive and dish to find a teammate to set up a score for him, although he drove in wildly and fell down, which could’ve also resulted in a turnover. He did a decent job of making passes off the dribble and finding open teammates in stride. However, he would sometimes be too loose with his ball handlng, as he had a ball get stolen away once, and he was called for traveling another time. He also threw an outlet pass to a teammate on the break once, but his teammate didn’t look for the ball and it led to a team turnover.
Though Djurisic did not grab a rebound in this game, he was able to tip a ball to a teammate to help his team get a defensive board once. Defensively, he looked to be perhaps above average. He is an aggressive help defender that would get his hands on balls to help his team get steals, and he will playing passing lanes and poke balls away to try to do so. On the downside, he would sometimes play too aggressively, which would lead him to wind up out of position and cause him to commit fouls and allow scores.
In summary, Nikola Djurisic had a solid showing in this game, and he especially excelled as a shot maker against Cedevita Olimpija. He showed off versatile scoring skills, and he is an athletic, skilled forward that could end up going in the late first to the second round range for the 2024 draft.
Cedevita Olimpija’s 6-11 Slovenian big man, Luka Scuka also played well to help lead his team to a win over Mega Basket. He didn’t take many shots in this game, but he was efficient, and he excelled as a shot blocker and defender when he was on the court.
Scuka showed a knack for scoring on hustle plays. He ran the floor to score on a thunderous dunk in traffic. He also got a running start to get the ball, and drove in to draw free throws. Plus, he also was able to move off the ball to make a deep, pick-and-pop three-pointer off the catch.
On the other hand, he didn’t grab many rebounds, but he was a willing rebounder that was able to haul in a pair of defensive boards. He also played solid defense in this game. Scuka did a very good job of blocking and altering shots both out on the perimeter and in the paint, as he would direct them to his teammates. He also was successfully able to draw a charge, and he did a good job of staying in front of his man when defending out on the perimeter to get stops for his team. On the downside, he was also foul prone, but that seemed to result from ticky-tack calls in which he appeared to block shots or make plays on the ball.
Overall, Luka Scuka did a good job of making team plays, and he played well in this game. On the other hand, he didn’t shoot the ball nearly enough, and he didn’t really look to handle the basketball. Still, he is an athletic, energetic forward that played well, and he could project into a 3 and D role in the NBA.
6-5 guard, Timotej Malovec also played well for Mega Basket in this game. He excelled as a shot maker and defender when he was on the floor. He scored in a variety of ways, as he showed that he can knock down shots from the outside and score on aggressive drives to the hoop. He also played solid defense, as he would rotate to block shots to help his team protect the paint, and he also would jump on loose balls to help his team get steals. Overall, he did a good job of scoring and defending when he was in the game, and he could project into a 3 and D role in the NBA.
Mega Bemax’s 6-9 forward, Filip Jovic is a fairly athletic, energetic forward that excelled at scoring and drawing free throws on hustle plays on offense, but he didn’t really look to take jump shots from the outside, and he struggled defensively. He had trouble defending quicker players off the dribble, and he would also tend to commit touch fouls. He was able to make some plays early on but struggled to play well consistently, but he could be a prospect to watch in the future.
Mega Bemax’s 6-10 Croatian big man, Andrija Jelavic didn’t play very well in this game, and he struggled to make shots all night against Cedevita Olimpija. For the positives, he rebounded the ball well, and was able to block a shot to a teammate to help his team protect the paint. He also was able to score on a turnaround mid-range jumper to show some face-up scoring skills on offense. He also was able to score on a quick tip-in after grabbing an offensive board later on.
However, Jelavic didn’t shoot the ball very well, was quite turnover prone, and struggled defensively. He missed all of his threes, and he would tend to mishandle balls that would lead him to commit turnovers. Defensively, he had trouble defending stronger opponents in the post, and he would sometimes lose focus and not stay attached to his man, which would lead his team to give up open jump shots to their opponents.
Overall, Jelavic’s performance in this game was very underwhelming, and it’s unsure as to what he would bring to the NBA at this moment. Right now, he is a good rebounder, but he will need to be much more skilled offensively, and he will need to improve his defense in order to increase his odds to be able to successfully make the jump to the NBA in the future.
Mega Bemax’s 6-7, Ukrainian forward, Oleksandr Kobzystyi had a decent showing in limited minutes, despite rarely taking a shot on offense. He excelled in making team plays, and he especially played well on the defensive end. He would stay in front of his man to help his teams prevent opponents from scoring at the rim, and he also would get his hands on balls to help his team get steals and deflections.
He showed the ability to pass and handle the basketball. He also was able to get a board on each end of the floor to show his rebounding skills. On the other hand, he rarely would shoot the basketball, and he missed a quick, open three-pointer in transition once. Overall, he is an athletic, energetic forward that showed a solid ability to make team plays, but he will need to improve his shooting and scoring skills. Right now, he may be an unlikely bet to make it to the NBA, but he could develop into a solid pro at his current level.
Mega Bema’s 6-8 Serbian forward, Petar Kovacevic had his ups and downs in his team’s loss to Cedevita Olimpija. He showed off fairly solid face-up scoring skills, as he was able to make an open three off the catch, and drove off of an offensive rebound to score at the rim another time. However, he also would sometimes miss on contested shots at the rim, and he struggled to score off the dribble consistently.
Kovacevic rebounded the ball very well, and he was able to make a drive and dish pass, but sometimes he would make careless decisions on offense that would lead him to turn the ball over. Defensively, he looked to be about average at best. On the defensive end, he was able to get his hands on a pass that helped his team get a steal, but he struggled to defend more athletic opponents in one-on-one situations, and it would lead his team to commit fouls and allow scores.
Overall, Petar Kovacevic is a skilled combo forward that showed off versatile scoring skills, but he will need to take better care of the basketball and improve his defense. He may only be an average athlete, but his ability to make shots could enable him to compete for a roster spot in the NBA someday.
All in all, those are my thoughts on how Topic, Djurisic, and other various prospects fared in this game. Thanks for reading.