In what would ultimately be the lone acquisition of someone outside of the organization this offseason, the Miami Heat took Nikola Jovic from Serbia with the 27th pick in the 2022 NBA Draft. At first it seemed like he wasn’t going to crack the Heat rotation. Although with lots of potential, he is very young and raw. However, he has impressed and showed out in the preseason thus far. Jovic is a player that is versatile enough to handle and play-make at a high level.
At 6’10 he plays like a guard, can shoot the three ball and midrange, can facilitate, rebound, and get to the basket. Naturally, it looks like he’s a power forward, which of course is a much needed position to fill up on the depth chart for Miami. It seems like he can play multiple positions though, as he has had time as both PF and center for the Heat in preseason. In the EuroLeague last year he actually played SF. It seems like he will be a good plug in guy for whatever role and position is needed.
On December 12, 2021, Jovic tied his career high in points in a European league game. That day he scored 25 points and also had 4 rebounds, 1 assist, and 1 steal. He shot 6/8 from two, 3/7 from three, while shooting at 60.0% from the field. He also shot 4/6 from the free-throw line. On May 24, 2021, Jovic set his career high in rebounds and assists in another European game. He grabbed 13 rebounds and also had 25 points, 13 assists, 5 steals and 3 blocks.
The Heat knew the potential he had, and was intrigued by the versatility in his game. It truly seems like there’s nothing the young 19 year old cannot do. Watching him in preseason, there have been moments where it’s looked like he has been in the NBA for a few years. The game is coming very naturally to him and his offensive skill set seems to be flowing. The craziest thing is that after their recent preseason win against the Brooklyn Nets, we all found out the rookie had a final exam for high school to pass on Zoom that same night!
Spoelstra on Jovic: “I think any young player who knows how to pass and is willing to pass is really unique.”— Five Reasons Sports (@5ReasonsSports) October 11, 2022
Jovic is coming off a preseason game where he had an almost effortless double double against the Rockets, with 15 points, 12 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals, on 4/12 shooting. The efficiency can definitely be better, but his presence on the court offensively and defensively can be seen.
Nikola Jovic posted 15 points, 12 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals & 2 3’s in 23 minutes vs the Rockets.— Simon Smith (@SimonSperling) October 11, 2022
Per @Stathead, this line has never been recorded in a regular season game in 23 mins or less.
He also had another few nice outings for Miami the last 2 wins, including a 13 point, 8 rebound, and 3 block night against the Grizzlies on 10/7/2022. Another important thing to note is that Jovic is doing all of this in limited minutes; 23 to be exact in each of those two games.
It will be very interesting to see how Jovic’s potential minutes plays out with coach Erik Spoelstra.
It could come down to the very last preaseason game to determine that, but he could be poised to land a rotation spot. He has a game that really could compliment Bam Adebayo nicely, as he can stretch the four and create for himself and others along with great defensive ability. Only time will tell, but what I can guarantee is this rookie is going to have a nice career in this league.