Observing Nikola Topic, Andrija Jelavic, and Nikola Saranovic in an Adriatic League Basketball Game

November 30th, 2023

By Alan Lu

Recently, I decided to take the time to watch 6-6 Serbian guard, Nikola Topic play in an October 16th game for Mega Basket against FMP Beograd, with thanks to YouTube via ABA Liga j.t.d.  He played very well, as he notched a double-double to help his team get the victory.  Here are my thoughts on how he fared as well as how other various prospects fared in this game.

Nikola Topic is a very skilled guard that can score and pass the basketball, and he could end up getting drafted in the lottery of the 2024 NBA Draft.
(Photo: Aleksandar Dmitrijević/Sportal)

Nikola Topic had a strong showing to help get his team the win over FMP Beograd.  He is a quick, agile playmaker that can score and make plays with the basketball.  Topic did a very good job of scoring on strong, aggressive drives to the hoop.  He has a quick first step, and he showed good balance, body control, and finishing ability to regularly score at the rim.  He can use dribble moves to get past his man, and he also showed the ability to finish in traffic.  Sometimes, he would force the issue a bit too much, as he would occasionally miss when he wouldn’t get foul calls, but he generally showed a strong ability to score when driving to the basket.

He also showed an adequate ability to knock down jumpers.  Though he struggled to make threes consistently, he was able to pull up to make a deep three late in this game.  He also was able to knock down a floater after driving to his left another time.

Plus, he also showcased strong playmaking skills in this game.  Topic showed a knack for making quick, accurate passes off the dribble, and he would consistently find open teammates on the move to rack up assists.  He was able to make wraparound passes, and he also could throw long passes to find his teammates in stride.  He didn’t commit many turnovers, but every once in a while, he would try passes that would end up getting intercepted.

Though he didn’t get many rebounds in this game, he was able to chase down balls to get a pair of defensive boards, and he managed to push the pace off of a defensive rebound once.  Defensively, he looked to be perhaps above average.  Topic was able to leap up to deflect an inbounds pass to nearly get a steal.  He also made more of a concerted effort to contest outside shots and close out on shooters to force misses.  However, sometimes he wouldn’t move his feet very well, and he would get beat off the dribble, which would lead him to commit fouls and allow scores.  Other times, he would play too aggressively, which would lead him to wind up out of position defensively.

In summary, Nikola Topic is an atheltic, skilled guard that can operate as a primary ball handler, and he is a gifted playmaker that can score and facilitate to help his team on offense.  He will need to continue to work on his defense, but his strong offensive skills could enable him to be a lottery pick for an NBA team in the 2024 draft.

Mega Basket’s 6-10 Croatian center, Andrija Jelavic played fairly well to help his team get the win.  He is a mobile, energetic big man that excelled at making hustle plays, and he especially defended well when he was on the court. 

Jelavic defended very well in this game.  He showed a knack for blocking three-point shots due to possessing solid length, athleticism, and timing, and he also was able to get his hands on a pass to help his team get a steal.  He also would use his length to contest jumpers to force misses.  Every once in a while, he would play too aggressively, which would lead him to wind up out of position, but generally Jelavic excelled at making plays to help his team defensively.

Plus, he also did a decent job of rebounding the basketball, and sometimes he would bring the ball up the floor after getting defensive boards.  Jelavic also showed a knack for scoring on hustle plays.  He was able to draw free throws by running the floor to get the ball in transition, as well as off of a backdoor cut.  He also was open around the hoop, and managed to score on a strong dunk.  He did miss once on a drive in transition, but it looked like that should’ve been goaltending instead.  He also missed an open three-pointer, but he did show the willingness to take that shot in this game.

As a playmaker, he looked to be about average at best.  He showed that he can handle the ball in the open floor.  Jelavic also was able to throw a quick bounce pass to find a teammate around the basket in transition late in this game.  However, he also committed a couple of turnovers.  He threw a weak pass that got tipped and intercepted.  He also over-dribbled and ended up losing the basketball to commit a turnover another time.

Overall, Jelavic had a fairly solid showing, and he made a lot of very solid defensive plays to help his team get the win in this game.  He’ll need to expand upon his skill set offensively and be more assertive on offense, but his size, athleticism, and defensive skills could make him an option for NBA teams to consider in the second round of the 2024 draft.

FMP Beograd’s Nikola Saranovic is an agile, 6-7 forward that excelled as a spot-up shooter, and he was able to run in to get a tipped ball to knock down a quick three off the catch once.  He also ran off the ball to make another quick three, and he showed promise as a movement shooter in this game.  He didn’t take many shots though, and he didn’t really show much of ability to create his own shot on offense.

He showed that he was willing to make passes, but he did throw a hasty interior pass that got intercepted once. Saranovic showed a satisfactory ability to rebound the basketball, and he would chase balls down to help his team get defensive boards.  He also played decent defense.  Saranovic showed a knack for jumping passes to get steals.  However, he had a tendency to over-help off of his man, and he was late to rotate or contest a three-point shot once, which led his team to give up the basket.

Overall, Saranovic is an agile, skilled swingman that played fairly well, even if he didn’t actually shoot the ball very much in this game.  He could project into a 3 and D role, and he showed promise as a movement shooter at higher levels.  He’ll need to be more assertive on offense and continue to improve defensively, but if he continues to progress and hone his game, he could end up being an effective role player in the NBA someday.

Mega Basket’s 6-5 Slovakian guard, Timotej Malovec played fairly well in his team’s win over FMP Beograd.  He especially played well on offense, as he made all of his shots.  He showed a knack for scoring on aggressive, left-handed drives to the hoop.  He also was able to make an open, spot-up three off the catch.  On the downside, there was one play where he telegraphed an entry pass that ended up getting intercepted.

He didn’t grab any rebounds in this game.  Defensively, he looked to be perhaps above average.  He would get his hands on passes to help his team get steals and deflections, and he also would fight through screens quickly.  He also would contest shots off of drives to help his team force misses. On the downside, he would play too aggressively, which would lead him to wind up out of position, which would lead him to commit fouls and allow scores.

Overall, Malovec had a decent showing in this game.  Though he didn’t take many shots on offense, he was very efficient in making them in this game, and he is a fairly athletic, energetic guard that can score the basketball.  He will need to improve his passing ability and be more disciplined defensively, but his ability to contribute on both ends of the floor could make him an option for NBA teams to consider in the mid to late second round in a future NBA draft.

Nikola Djurisic did not play very well in his team’s win over FMP Beograd in this game.  Though he showed some playmaking and rebounding skills, he was held scoreless and was in foul trouble defensively.  While he showed some ability to draw non-shooting fouls when handling the ball and driving to the rim, Djurisic tended to take tough, off-balanced shots, which would lead to some awkward misses.  He also did not attempt a three-point shot in this game, and he was entirely too passive on offense.

He showcased solid playmaking skills.  He did a good job of making an assortment of passes, as he can pass off the dribble and find teammates on the move to consistently get them the basketball and notch assists.  On one play though, when handling the ball, the ball slipped out of his hands, which led him to turn the ball over.

Djurisic did a decent job of rebounding the basketball, and sometimes he would bring the ball up after hauling in defensive boards.  Defensively, he struggled in this game.  He would sometimes have lapses defensively, and other times would take bad gambles that would lead him to wind up out of position.  He also would sometimes compound things by fouling, and he would lose focus and tend to be too late to defend three-point shooters defensively.

Overall, Djurisic did not play very well in this game.  He’s an athletic forward that can ably create his own shot, but he didn’t do a great job of asserting himself in this game against FMP Beograd, and he’ll need to improve his jump shot and defense.  Currently, he projects to be a second round prospect for the 2024 draft.

All in all, those are my thoughts on how Topic and other various prospects fared in this game.  Thanks for reading.

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