Nikola Jovic opens up on season, Pat Riley’s praise: ‘I feel like it was a successful season for me’

Nikola Jovic
Pat Riley praised Nikola Jovic, who’s coming off the best season of his young career, on Monday. (Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports)

Miami Heat president Pat Riley had high praise for 20-year-old forward Nikola Jovic during his end-of-season press conference on Monday.

“It all happened like that for Niko,” Riley said with snapping motion. “The Learning curve was off the charts. Still, we saw something this year when we put him in the game. I think you could see–from 70 to 80 percent of his game–this guy is going to have some talent.

“It’s all about repetitions and IQ–learning and learning and learning more. It’s a new way of conditioning for a 20-year-old, cardio more than anything else … He’s a great athlete. He’s got great instincts. He’s unselfish and he’s a good rebounder–a coast-to-coast guy.”

Jovic, who has played only 61 career games through two seasons, due to a back injury and an inconsistent role, provided his input on his 2023-24 season and Riley’s praise earlier this week.

There was everything, and in the end, it turned out well even though we lost in the first round. I feel like it was a successful season for me,” Jovic told Eurohoops.net. “What can you expect from a man who has done so much for the NBA league? [Pat Riley] is certainly one of the people who knows best what needs to be done and how to lead the team, so I don’t ask much.”

To Jovic’s point, Riley does know a thing or two about basketball, and the Heat have been among the league’s best at developing talent–Jovic included.

The former No. 27 pick entered the Heat’s starting lineup midway through the 2023-24 campaign and did not relinquish it. He averaged 7.7 points and 4.2 rebounds on 45.2 percent shooting, 39.9 percent from beyond the arc and 70.2 percent from the charity stripe.

Though the two departments he made considerable strides in were his 3-point shooting–raising his efficiency by 17 percentage points (!!) with his 3-point rate increasing by 7.3 percentage points (50.7 to 58.0)–and his defense, becoming more capable of defending multiple positions in space with more discipline.

Miami’s 6-foot-10 skilled forward was also one of its best players in transition as well as one of its most connective offensive players, even if the touches weren’t always there around Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo and Terry Rozier (when he was active).

Jovic was also complimentary of star forward Jimmy Butler, who he’s built a strong bond with over his two seasons with Miami.

He’s like an older brother to me; we get each other,” Jovic said. “He said he just wants to win; I said I just want to win, and that’s it.”

 

Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra was also impressed with Nikola Jovic’s growth from being on the bench throughout last year’s postseason run to starting in the playoffs.

“If you said (last year) that in the first round series, when our season ended, that Niko would be our starting power forward and doing the type of scheme things that he was doing defensively against Boston and that we’d have to rely on him, in a certain way, you probably thought, ‘No, that’s not happening nine months from now,'” Spoelstra said. “But I think him experiencing all of that was really important.”

What do you think about his response?  Let us know in the comments!

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heat for life

niko in europe a ss already niko in nba we shall see.jjj looks like a solid rotational player .

heat for life

jovi and jamie just prospects not d wade instant ss.complimentary players,need sunman fetch us a ss or at least an all star

SunManFromDogBone

Between Niko and Jaquez, the Heat should be covered for SF for years. Now if Riley can just turn Herro and Butler into a very good two-way SG and a big PF or C, the team should be covered. Meanwhile, they can continue drafting wisely and developing undrafted players. If they take a couple of years “retooling” …I’m good with that.

Last edited 19 days ago by SunManFromDogBone
heat for life

f riley need sun man picking the groceries.riley couldnt get toppin collins gafford pj not brown btw ,time to hand the reins over to sunman pat look him up in here .hes got lots of trade ideas written down in his notebook.

Reality Czech

You are the Mel Kiper Junior Junior, the Warren Buffett of HHH!! If you only had their money, I would be your new bff! 😀😀

SweeterSwish

The growth Jovic has experienced this year has been my highlight for this season. I’ve been rooting for this guy ever since we got him. He had some stellar defensive games for the Heat. His passing is probably his most overlooked ability. He has the skills to pay the bills. I’d hate to see him go in a trade.

ZechMerquise

he should be sf, cos he plays like an sf. We still another big to pair with bam.

Reality Czech

Wow, I literally just said that to my gal. I said I see him more as a tall small forward than a power forward.

Big_guy305

Imagine in the future without Jimmy,
and herro…..with a big, long, and fairly young lineup of rozier, jaquez, jovic, bam, edey. That lineup would be bigger then wolves,nuggets,boston,cavs, knicks etc. Obviously we would have other pieces at Sg and C, but just showing a large, young, lineup we could possibly see in the future. If pat Riley really wants to give bam help.

ManilaHeat

Wishlist. Hear this oh godfather 😆

Big_guy305

I look forward to seeing jovic game grow even more, hopefully he doesn’t get traded. He has the talent and length to be a 2 way player, he’s a beast In the open court, and makes our fastbreak transition offense more devastating. I see good things in his future, even spo said when he’s out there it’s like having another bam with the versatility. Just needs to bulk up more, and work on his post, middy game, footwork and more defensive intensity .

ManilaHeat

and congrats Joker. 3rd mvp Nuggs realy got a steal on that 2015 (?) draft

heat for life

remember what he did to morris f him

SunManFromDogBone

Morris and his brother are idiots. I see Shaq is jealous of The Joker’s 3rd MVP. Jovic is the best big the NBA has seen in decades. 26.4/12.4/9.0!!! Last year, he averaged 24.5/11.8/ 9.8. The only players with better seasonal averages in NBA history (triple doubles) have been Point Guards Oscar Robinson (1) and Russell Westbrook (4).

Big_guy305

I think he’s half jealous because he got robbed before , and feels shai got robbed, and half just annoyed at the voting process because everyone got there own definition of an mvp. Whether that be the best player on the best team or the baddest mama jamma in the league. Mvp is just a regular season award anyways, but I do think the voting should of been closer, and not an overwhelming landslide. But everyone has there preferences. Honestly I think players should be doing the voting, since they play against each other.

Last edited 19 days ago by Big_guy305
SunManFromDogBone

It’s like boxing or mma. As long as the winner doesn’t get robbed by the judges, I’m good with it. Jovic was the best in the league in my opinion.

Big_guy305

True, and I’m good with jokic as mvp as well, and would be funny if they get swept.

ManilaHeat

i hate watching playoff games without Heat. sad life. hope this will not be something regular. btw…Jimmy said he loves being in Miami, so taking heed of Pat’s take on ur regular season play? and maybe a discount?

Reality Czech

45.2%, 39.9% 3p %. Trending nicely. Jovic made positive strides with his defense this season. He played a little too hesitant, deferring a lot. He’ll continue to get better.

ManilaHeat

Soooo young at 20! Like Tyler I guess Pat will keep this dude until the progress plateau. 2-3 yrs probably would be the timeline.

Iknowtoomuch

Stud in the making!

heat for life

uh niko its a team game .u need to get better so the heat will be better,find something u can do very good and make that your game.u do alot of things but none are really that good,right now i see u as a bench player unless u get better.gl kid

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