Nikola Jovic: I’m going to ‘show the coaches I can play.’

Nikola Jovic
Nikola Jovic has played in 23 career games with the Heat. (Rich Storry-USA TODAY Sports)

Finding, developing, nurturing and maximizing talent in a talent-laden NBA is far easier said than done.

One organization that’s perfected the practice is the Miami Heat, who have mass-produced myriad success stories with undrafted players and previously underdeveloped talent looking for new homes.

Even through the draft, the Heat have knocked it out of the park over the last decade with Bam Adebayo and Tyler Herro, who were drafted No. 14 and 13, respectively. Even though it might be premature, you can throw Jaime Jaquez Jr.–the Heat’s 18th pick in the 2023 draft–into that mix; after all, he’s a facsimile of (super)star wing Jimmy Butler, averaging 16.7 points, 4.1 rebounds and 3.1 assists on 50.2/34.9/85.9 shooting splits over his last 20 games.

But its 2022 draft pick Nikola Jovic, who entered the league as a 19-year-old point forward encountering a completely new role, has required a little more patience in terms of his development.

“When I first came in, I thought it would be easy. I was a young kid who had some crazy moments,” Jovic recently told Sam Yip of HoopsHype. “I feel confident. I feel great on the court, I’m just waiting for the opportunity. You can’t rush through things. I’m sure it’ll come soon too, so I’m going to see where I’m at, help the team, show the coaches I can play.”

Jovic, who’s played in 23 career games over two years, added 20 pounds of muscle from his rookie to sophomore season and has continued to develop on both ends–particularly the defensive end of the floor. He’s a much better help defender and doesn’t look like a minus in isolation against opposing wings.

Offensively, while he’s a developing spot-up threat, Jovic is one of the team’s top ballhandlers and playmakers, especially in the open floor. The 20-year-old is averaging 6.1 points and 4.5 rebounds on 53.1 percent shooting, including 9-of-17 (52.1) from 3-point range with nine stocks (blocks plus steals).

In his third start of the season (in place of Haywood Highsmith) Wednesday against the Los Angeles Lakers, Jovic scored a season-high 15 points and eight rebounds on 6-of-11 shooting–including 3-of-5 from deep–holding his own defensively against LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Los Angeles’ other wings at the bottom of Miami’s 2-3 zone.

“As long as I’m in practices, as long as I’m developing, I feel like you can do good in both ways,” he said. “Even if I’m not playing, I’m developing more. If I play, I probably wouldn’t be able to practice as much, but now I’m developing things I’m going to be great at.

“It’s a tough league to play. People want to get a standard contract and two-ways. Everybody is fighting for a contract. You can learn a lot of things. First of all, the most important one is learn how to win games. That’s definitely good for me, developing, winning games, playing some good defense … I still don’t know which position I can be. That’s why I work on everything. I want to be an all-around player. That’s what I’m trying to do.”

The Heat rotation is quite crowded but has been one of the most injured in the entire NBA. As long as Jovic can continue to take advantage of the opportunity provided to him, the sky is limitless for the 6-foot-10, multi-faceted big.

Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra recently spoke regarding the patience of Jovic’s development and why it’s important to get plenty of game reps, whether it’s with the Sioux Falls Skyforce (Miami’s G-League affiliate) or with the NBA club.

“[Nikola Jovic] has been getting a lot better behind the scenes,” he said. “He’s 20-years old. His head coach has seen progress. If he’s not playing, that doesn’t mean he’s not making progress or that we’re giving up on him. We’re developing him … he’s been preparing and all these experiences have been really good for him.”

 

***

To check out our other content, click here.

Follow Hot Hot Hoops on Twitter/X here!

Follow Hot Hot Hoops on Instagram here!

 

5 1 vote
Article Rating
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
51 Comments
Newest
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

… [Trackback]

[…] Read More to that Topic: hothothoops.com/2024/01/04/nikola-jovic-im-going-help-team-show-coaches-i-can-play-miami-heat/ […]

trackback

… [Trackback]

[…] Read More on on that Topic: hothothoops.com/2024/01/04/nikola-jovic-im-going-help-team-show-coaches-i-can-play-miami-heat/ […]

HeavyHeater

It’s a small sample size but the Bam, Jovic, Jaquez frontcourt is a +5.5 in 2 starts this season and both starts came against 2 of the best frontlines in the nba, the Timberwolves and the Lakers.
They were a +4 in 17 mins together against the Timberwolves and they were a +7 in 16 mins together against the Lakers.
Bam is also posting his best +/- of the season when he’s playing next to Jovic.

It’s small sample sizes but it still makes you wonder how good these 3 players could be as a starting frontcourt in 2-3 years if they remain together.

Last edited 1 month ago by HeavyHeater
oregoner

Let the record show I was early on the bandwagon, saying we should be giving the O-Rob and the T-Rob minutes to Jovic. That kid can play!

Unfortunately, I think when they playoffs roll around, those minutes will probably go back to T-Rob. Unless your name is D-Wade, Tyler Herro, or possibly Jamie, most young guys are not reliable in the playoffs.

Reality Czech

I guess I’m out of the loop. T-Rob = Bryant?

SunManFromDogBone

Kevin Love last 9 games:

10 points and 14 rebounds
17 points on 7 of 11 shooting
12 points and 6 rebounds
8 points and 7 rebounds
8 points, 10 rebounds, and 5 assists
6 points
9 points and 10 rebounds
22 points and 7 rebounds
16 points and 9 rebounds

Reality Czech

Excellent!

SunManFromDogBone
Reality Czech

Amazing!

ManilaHeat

Yezzzz!

Screenshot_2024-01-05-13-13-00-89_a23b203fd3aafc6dcb84e438dda678b6
Reality Czech

And from the Herald, on Jovic:
”Defense is one of the biggest reasons behind Jovic’s lack of consistent playing time this season — other than just a very deep Heat roster — and he admits that “1-on-1 defense is where I need to get good.”

“I do make some dumb fouls,” Jovic said. “Last game, I had five. This game, I had four. Just some random shooting fouls. Of course, refs are going to target me and probably give me a hard time. But still, I need to stay solid and finish the play. It’s always like I’ll be right there and at the last second I’ll touch somebody’s hand or bail somebody out.”’

SunManFromDogBone

Two years from now with more experience, muscle and confidence, this guy is going to be hell!
P.S. He’ll only be 22!!!

Reality Czech

Yes sir!

heat for life

his body is perfect now no more muscle needed will lose athleticism and mobility. hes good to go just needs pt and find his niche in nba.he can rebound and dribble and finish like majic

SunManFromDogBone

His body isn’t perfect yet. He’s not good to go just yet. Maybe by playoff time or next year. Still has youthful rough edges to work out.

Reality Czech

Just to clarify, please tell me you are not comparing Jovic with Magic Johnson, one of the greatest players in history? You see a guy who is tall and has a pg skill set (he played pg before his growth spurt), but he probably will never otherwise be compared to Magic.

Belacqua

I’m glad he recognizes the crucial growth areas in his game

Reality Czech

And 2:
The Heat need to go out and trade for Donovan Mitchell now. Jimmy Butler’s injuries are coming more frequently. He has a lot of miles on his body. Get Donovan with Bam Adebayo as soon as possible. – Al.
A: First, the Cavaliers still have Donovan Mitchell under contract for the balance of this season and all of 2024-25, so it’s not as if they have to do anything immediately. Beyond that, word out of Cleveland is the Cavaliers plan to move forward the balance of the season with Donovan, so there’s also that. Further, based on your phrasing, I’m assuming you are willing to part with Tyler Herro (and here we go again on that front). The question is Tyler plus what? If you include draft picks, then the cupboard becomes bare down the line, say for a Luka Doncic or the next possible big thing on the market. And I sure as heck would not also include Jaime Jaquez Jr. But, again, a Donovan Mitchell trade is a Cavaliers decision. To change that thinking, at least at the moment, would appear to require an offer the Cavaliers can’t refuse. The Heat do not appear poised for such an offer, nor do they necessarily need to rush into such a move, or any move.”

SunManFromDogBone

Heat can’t afford to give up the future for one player.

Reality Czech

HHH seems to be split between those that would mortgage the entire future for that one chance to win it all and those that want to take a more measured, strategic approach. I’m in the latter category. The reality is that you have a 1 in 30 chance of winning the championship in any year. Now, anything is possible, but the way other teams are built and playing this season, it would be a very difficult mountain to climb. With the gems Riley and Andy have gotten in the draft the last several years, maybe they can keep that going IF we keep our draft picks, continue to develop our core of young’uns, and make a key trade in the not too distant future. Then we might be true contenders for the next 5+ years.

SunManFromDogBone

If Butler isn’t 100% a championship isn’t going to happen. What is Plan B for the all-inners?

Bout30man

As an all inner, there is no plan b. I would only advocate this for Jimmy. And I got that way honestly. He did a major portion of the heavy lifting in getting us to two NBA finals, For any other situation, I would rather take the measured approach.
There is more to say but we downplay it for good reason. Suffice to say that this team is trying to accomplish things using a different approach than almost every other team in the league. And, the surprise is, sometimes, like last night, is it works. But, if you analyze attitudes across the league, no one thinks the Heats use of GLeaguers, and a line-up with several white players, can work. Before you criticize me for saying, tell me if it’s not the truth. Hey, good players are good players, and maybe Riley is onto something. Jaime was a fairly late pick, and now we see Jovic has a chance to be good too. As for GLeaguers, Dunc, Max, Gabe, all belong, maybe not stars but helpful complimentary players.
Don’t crucify me for crossing the third rail, but it’s happening and it’s part of the story. It’s just that I am admitting that I am amazed at how well it sometimes works out. After all, look across the NBA, no one else is doing it.

Sundayafternoons

I used to want to see Duncan, KO, Goran, Leonard and Herro on the court at the same time. In a Dave Chappelle time traveling type of way. Truly hilarious to me.

But to the point: Herro is a highly skilled 2-guard. His skill set is a lot different than Mitchell’s. Recently I’ve waivered on which is better for our team. Nights like LAC has me lean Mitchell. But then I wonder–who is the other 40% 3-point shooter on the court with Bam, Jimmy, Mitchell, and Love, that unlocks driving lanes?

So can’t we just have both?

Reality Czech

Now THAT would be the best of all worlds!

Bout30man

Some of The Chappelle Show skits were as funny as skits get. My favorite is when he went for a ride with Wayne Brady.

Reality Czech

2 interesting Ask Ira Q&As. Here’s #1:
Can people stop talking about trading Tyler Herro? He is the All-Star wing we need. Sure, for Damian Lillard or Joel Embiid (though that should be weighed carefully), but what player that’s been mentioned has better upside, knows our system and also, by the way, wants to be here? – Cheryl, Fort Lauderdale.
A: Here’s the thing, rumors are fun, but meaningless. The only thing that matters is if the Heat are talking about trading Tyler Herro. And outside of the Damian Lillard stuff, that simply hasn’t been the case. So better outsiders out of the loop speculating than the Heat making a move they could prove to regret. Best thing to happen to the Heat might have been Joe Cronin not answering his phone. (As he sifts through Wednesday night’s Jaime Jaquez Jr. and Nikola Jovic highlights.)”

SunManFromDogBone

Herro is only getting better while Dame is getting older. Bucks F’d up! Cronin f’d up signing Grant long-term.

Bout30man

I have been one who notices that Dame is early into the process that all players go thru, just at different times, aging and losing a slight bit of effectiveness. . And with Dame being a minus defender, he needs to be a big scorer to earn his contract. And with his contract being huge, that’s an issue too. Then, throw in the Bucks gave up an excellent player, and more, and we seem to have dodged a bullet.

SunManFromDogBone

There are times I feel very schizophrenic about this team. Buy, sell, trade, stand pat…my feelings seem to change, game to game. However, if I stand back and look at things clearly, the choices are rather obvious.

GROUP #1
The Heat core revolves around:
Bam (contracted through 2025-2026), Butler (contracted through 2025-2026), Robinson (contracted through 2025-2026), Jovic (contracted through 2025-2026), Herro (contracted through 2026-2027) and Jaquez (contracted through 2026-2027).

GROUP # 2
The players who will probably remain with the team next season are:
Love (2024-2025 player option), Richardson (2024-2025 player option), ORobinson (2024-2025 team option),

GROUP #3
The players who may be traded this year are:
Lowry (expiring 2023-2024), Martin (expiring 2024-2025), Bryant (expiring 2024-2025), Highsmith (expiring 2023-2024)

GROUP #4
The players who may not be with the team next season are:
Smith (team option 2024-2025), Swider (2023-2024 two-way contract), Hampton (2023-2024 two way contract) Cain (2024-25 two-way contract),

Note: If Miami decides not to trade anyone in GROUP #1, what is the best they can get for
Lowry, Martin, Bryant, Highsmith and future draft picks? I’m thinking, at minimum, a couple of decent rotation players off of rebuilding teams such as Detroit, Washington, Charlotte, San Antonio, Memphis, Toronto, Chicago or Utah.

Any thoughts?

heat for life

cant win a ring with current roster 99% sure about that.can go pretty far in playoffs.no way can beat denver

SunManFromDogBone

It’s all about matchups. Maybe Denver doesn’t make it out of the west.

Bout30man

I disagree on going far. I believe Jimmy carried us last year. This year, even though I believe Jimmy can still turn it on in the playoffs, he needs more support.

ManilaHeat

🤔🤔🤔

Big_guy305

Might be good enough to get you one or 2 players like sasser,killian,bagley,wiseman,pj caruso, tyus, keldon, ivey, bridges, Hayward, Clark, ko, aldama. Just off the top of my head.

SunManFromDogBone

That could be enough to get us over the hump.

Sundayafternoons

Caleb’s combo of rim pressure and on-ball defense is really important for us. His passable outside shooting and contract, one would think, makes him a highly valuable player. The type many contending teams are looking for.

Why are we trading a guy who provides such value to us to a contender? Is Houston giving us one of their young guards for him? Does Memphis have any pieces that are attractive? What about Sacramento or Atlanta?

Reality Czech

The issue with Martin is not about his ability, but about his contract. He has a player option at the end of the season and will most likely opt out. Considering what Strus, Vincent, and other players are earning, he likely would be expecting at least $15-20 million a year. Without major trades, the Heat can’t afford to pay him that much, so the choice is to trade him and get back some assets, or let him walk and get nothing for him. The Heat may actually choose the latter as they’ve done so in the past. Whether that’s a good business move is another matter.

Sundayafternoons

Didn’t realize it was a player option.

Yeah that changes things a bit

DiehardHeatSince88

Memphis has Marcus Smart; highly attractive.

ManilaHeat

The future is bright! Still hoping Jimmy wins a ring with us and then decides to play second fiddle with less $$$ and retire in Miami. A future with Bam, Tyler, JJJ, Jovic as main men and Butler as a champion vet from bench…hey a guy could dream you know

Alien

Is Duncan done or gone?

Reality Czech

Our candidate for most improved player? No, he’s still here. For now.

ManilaHeat

Still in the bench with in the future I guess hehe

vagibugi

Goran has announcement for his farewell game. Doncic, Jokic, Yannis, Butler among others will be playing.

2 years ago and Goran playing shhoting guard this would be the best lineup ever.
I ll be there for sure.

SunManFromDogBone

Enjoy. I miss the Dragon.

vagibugi

He played solid defense, which is most important. Heat won, which is also good for him.
He will get another chance soon.

Reality Czech

I really liked all the tools Jovic showed tonight. While I wouldn’t call his defense ‘impressive’ just yet, it is improving. He no longer looks lost on that end.
At the risk of sounding blasphemous, I again say no way should the Heat give Butler any extension. His contract runs through this season and next, with a player option for 25/26 for $52.4 million (think he’d pass that up?). If the Heat don’t win it all this season, maybe they could sit down with him and say they will try to send him to the contender of his choice. He deserves a ring. Considering the market, (is there anyone who doesn’t think Butler is better than Kuzma?), they can pick up a player or 2, and draft picks, and we can continue the youth movement.
i like the idea of a nucleus of Bam, Jovic, Jaquez, Caín, and Herro if he’s not traded.
I respect Butler, but I am a Heat fan first and foremost. I’d love another solid star or complimentary player, but getting the former is difficult.
It’s been suggested that the Heat will wait to see who shakes out on the buyout market. For all the sky is falling comments and inconsistency, they are tied for fourth with the worst injury absences in the league. Not a bad spot to be in.

vagibugi

Heat are in good spot. If they finish 4th in regular season, its a good result.

Healthy Heat with Bam, Herro and Butler at the top of their game can beat anybody.

heat for life

the biggest surprise for me is on the defensive end,he has good instincts good foot agility stays in front of his man .has gotten raw deals on 50 50 charge block calls every fn time.shooting over 50% on 3s and 2s small sample size gotta like the kids future.crowded rotation here when everybodys healthy he will prob be in sioux falls developing his game

Alien

Is Duncan done or gone?

SunManFromDogBone

Duncan here for the duration.

51
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x
Scroll to Top