In his third summer league game, Miami Heat 2022 first-round pick Nikola Jovic had his breakout. He made five 3-pointers en route to scoring 25 points and grabbing nine rebounds in just 28 minutes.
It was a welcome sign for Jovic. As Nekias Duncan of Basketball News tweeted, he showed that he’s a willing shooter from deep and moves well without the ball. If Heat fans hope that Jovic can play like a more consistent Kelly Olynyk, who was the Heat’s second-best player in the 2020 NBA Finals, Tuesday’s game offers a tantalizing preview.
Nikola Jovic showed some *stuff* today. 25 & 9; 4-of-9 from 2, 5-of-7 from three.— Nekias (Nuh-KY-us) Duncan (@NekiasNBA) July 5, 2022
Willing trigger from deep, contests didn't bother him much. Active mover off the ball, made himself available pretty well. Something to build on for sure. pic.twitter.com/MqPV5jTKVP
Of course, it’s just one game. Yes, we’ve seen Kendrick Nunn and Duncan Robinson catapult from great summer league games to solid NBA performances. But longtime Heat fans may remember that Earl Barron dominated in the Heat’s 2005 summer league — and then didn’t make much of an impact in three seasons with Miami.
After today’s game, Jovic mentioned that he played small forward or shooting guard in Serbia. The Heat are playing him at power forward or center. He won’t have the ball in his hands as much, even if his ball-handling skills are at asset. He’ll need to become a good screen-setter in the NBA.
In short, don’t expect Jovic to be a quality starting power forward next to Bam Adebayo during his rookie season. T.J. Warren is expected to sign a one-year deal with the Brooklyn Nets, so that took another free agent off the board as the Heat remain in a holding pattern waiting on Kevin Durant and Donovan Mitchell.