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Sam Presti doesn’t expect Nikola Topic to play in 2024-25

Nikola Topic Thunder
Nikola Topic, who has a partially torn ACL, was drafted No. 12 overall by the Oklahoma City Thunder in the 2024 NBA Draft. (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)

Sam Presti doesn’t expect Nikola Topic to play in 2024-25

Every year, there’s always at least one top prospect who either falls out of the top-10, or falls out of the top-10 entirely unexpectedly. Serbian guard Nikola Topic, who was a consensus top-5 pick for much of the 2024 cycle, was in a unique situation after being diagnosed with a partially torn ACL just three weeks before the draft.

Topic was expected to slide, and he did. The Oklahoma City Thunder ultimately drafted the 6-foot-7 lead guard with the No. 12 overall pick, though general manager Sam Presti revealed some damning news regarding his potential availability heading into the new season.

“(We’ll) determine the plan of action for the injury,” Presti said, according to NBA.com. “We’re going into that extremely optimistic with what it is that we’ve seen and where I think we’ll be able to get to, but our expectation is that he probably won’t be playing for us next season.

“It was a unique situation to be able to get a player of that caliber where we did and we’re really excited about bringing him into the organization.”

He averaged 18.4 points, 3.6 rebounds and 7.1 assists in 12 games with KK Mega Basket, an Adriatic League team in Serbia, last season. He shot 52.3 percent from the floor, 25.9 percent from 3-point range (4.5 3PA; 35.3 3PAr) and 85.5 percent from the free-throw line. Topic was touted for his elite playmaking ability and crafty finishing ability around the rim, despite not having great shooting touch from beyond the arc.

The Thunder roster is loaded in the backcourt with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Jalen Williams, Cason Wallace and Alex Caruso. The organization has been patient with injured rookies before–such as former No. 2 pick Chet Holmgren, for example. Topic has a good luxury because he’s not needed right away. He can take his time. Though I’m interested to see how he’s integrated upon his return; fascinating discussions will need to be had and decisions will need to be made.

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