Heat’s Nikola Jovic opens up on growth as player

Nikola Jovic
Nikola Jovic has played in 61 career games with the Miami Heat. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

Heading into his second NBA season, there were still plenty of questions surrounding Miami Heat wing Nikola Jovic.

As a rookie, his opportunities were few and far between, in part due to a back injury that limited him to just 15 NBA games and 12 combined G-League games with the Sioux Falls Skyforce.

Entering his second year, the now-21-year-old was coming off a second-place finish with Serbia in the 2023 FIBA World Cup, averaging 10.1 points, 3.0 rebounds and 2.6 assists across eight FIBA contests. He shot 56.6 percent from the floor, including 42.3 percent from 3-point range and 76.9 percent from the free-throw line. That included a 25-point effort against South Sudan in the final leg of Group Stage, where Jovic went a perfect 9-for-9 and 5-of-5 from 3-point range.


Jovic was oftentimes one of their secondary creators, but showed semblance of consistency from 3-point range as well as defending in space. Though questions still remained how that would translate to the NBA level.

In an exclusive interview with Cyro Asseo de Choch of HoopsHype, Jovic opened up about his growth as a player since joining the Miami Heat:

“I think I grew a lot, especially from last year being in the Finals and learning about how to get there and how hard it is,” he said. “A lot of veteran players are great guys and great people who taught me how to be first a great person and, after that, a great basketball player. I think I learned a lot, like I said, especially last year.

“This year, I got a little bigger role, and I had the chance to start in the playoffs, which was a big deal, of course, and I’m grateful for the opportunity. I’m grateful that the coaches saw that I can play, and I hope I’ll give back to the team and to the city of Miami soon.”

If one lesson could be learned from Jovic: Not all growth is linear!

The former No. 27 overall pick appeared in 46 regular games with the Heat this season, joining the starting lineup full-time in mid-February without relinquishing it. He tallied 7.7 points, 4.2 rebounds with a pair of assists, shooting 45.2 percent from the floor, 39.9 percent from 3-point range and 70.2 percent from the free-throw line.

His effective field goal percentage leaped 10.4 percentage points as a rookie while his true-shooting percentage elevated by 5.3 percentage points. Jovic even improved from 22.9 percent to 39.0 percent on pure spot-up attempts from beyond the arc, which made up 48.9 percent of his shot diet in 2023-24, according to NBA.com’s shot tracking data.

Perhaps the biggest area of improvement came defensively. The 6-foot-10 wing consistently showed he was capable of switching onto multiple positions and holding his own ground, as well as making precise rotations and staying disciplined.

How do you think Jovic has grown as a player? Let us know in the comments!


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heat for life

hurley spurns lakers lebron little old


Don’t wanna be the scapegoat everytime something goes wrong


“Miami Heat ‘in the conversation’ for star center in 2024 NBA Draft”
If no major changes are being planned regarding Butler, I can see drafting Edey at #15, trading Herro and a pick for a two-way SG (Murray?) and running it back…at least until the deadline. By that time, Riley can decide what he is going to do regarding the “Butler situation.”



Keep this kid.


If Bam, Jovic and Jaquez are the team’s future, then Butler, Herro, Rozier, Duncan, Love, Bryant and others are the past. Riley/Spo/we need to quit blowing smoke up our own behinds and accept reality. Trade the past and prepare for the future. I can see a whole new crew coming in next season. Since I’m sure Riley cannot, he’ll probably pick up a cheap center off the junk pile if push comes to shove, draft or trade for a center and play it back hoping for the best. Oh well.


Pat Riley literally has more championship rings than anyone in the NBA. He’s taken this team to the NBA Finals twice in the past five years. As much as any team in the NBA. All of a sudden people are acting like it’s been nothing but first round exits with this guy? FOH. The disrespect for the Godfather is uncalled for.


I call it the way I see it. Unfortunately, we are in a “what have you done for me lately” world. I have no problem supporting a competitive team every year, even if it is not realistically a “championship contender.” I just don’t like it when folks paint a turd orange and call it sherbert.

Can this team be a championship contender with a couple of strategic tweaks? Possibly. Time will tell. However, if no significant changes are made, Miami cannot compete with the top tier teams in the league or win the NBA Championship next year.

FYI #1: In 2023-2024, Miami was 0-12 against the top 6 teams in the West and 2-7 against the top 3 teams in the East. Most of Miami’s wins were against losing teams.

FYI #2: Miami’s record with Butler playing was 33-27 (.550) and was 13-9 without him (.591).


what have you done for me lately? the Heat were in the finals LAST YEAR! The year before that they were the #1 seed and made it to game-7 of the ECF.

It’s not a ‘what have you done for me lately’. It’s an undeserved sense of entitlement. i honestly might have to take a break from HHH if we’re really going to start complaining that the front office isn’t doing a good job


It has nothing to do with entitlement. The league is changing. It has everything to do with evolving/keeping up with the times. Memories are great, but you can’t live in the past.

Miami is still stuck in the “small ball mentality” even though the solutions are staring them in the face.

  • 28th in rim shot attempts
  • 27th in offensive rebounds
  • 26th in total rebounds
  • 30th in blocked shots
  • 28th in FG attempts.
  • 27th in scoring
  • 29th in pace
  • 2nd in shots taken in last 4 seconds of 24 second clock

The teams needs frontcourt help (rebounding, blocks, dunks, defense, screens, etc.) and to improve the pace to get better shots earlier in the 24 second clock. It also needs more scoring. That can be done through trades, the draft and free agency.

The current players’ styles don’t mesh. Bam, Jaquez, Jovic, Rozier are like stallions that want to get out and run. Butler wants to walk down, eat up the clock and take a last minute shot. Something’s gotta give.

I bet Miami could “re-tool” with younger players and be better for it in the long run, both offensively and defensively. I wonder what players Butler, Herro and Robinson can bring on the open market? I think a good young two-way PF/C and a SG, at minimum. There are several out there.

Reality Czech

No need for a break. Just agree to disagree. No one here is 100% right. Right now, everything is speculation and conjecture. I can’t express how glad I am that we only have about 2 weeks to go before we start getting answers. Whatever the Heat does in the draft or trading period, I will root for them every game. But at least we’ll know what team we are dealing with. For me, I don’t want them to trade away this draft pick. There are players at 15 that can help the team. We’ll see. Soon.


Even if they trade Butler to Houston for players and #3 pick, I hope they keep #15 pick too. I agree, we are all going a little istir crazy approaching the draft, free agency and trading season. Anything can happen. Two weeks to go before the real madness begins

heat for life

got to have future and past.all of one never a good thing unless in win mode now.if bam is your best player at best your a playin team.bam on the celtics prob 5th best player.a healthy porz which he never is is a better player than bam in my opinion.


Jimmy butler has been the best player in Mia these last 2 years and at best they were a playin team not only that the 8th seed losing both times in the first game. Why do yall keep saying if bam is the best player Mia is a playin team while being a playin team w/ Jimmy? Lmao so basically if they trade Jimmy nothing happens?

Reality Czech


heat for life

a play in team that went to the finals.you remember playoff jimmy compared to reg season jimmy.ask milw and boston .when u have defensive liabilities ty dunc and non athletic players love bryant jovic you are doing your team a disservice


And you remember playin Strus? Or it wouldn’t be a playoff Jimmy. Also remember he did absolutely nothing in the finals. Ok with being in 2nd place

heat for life

djj a nice story but you slot coffee in for him.coffee in la.coffee in phily.gotta keep jimmy give his money draft mount edey and get john collins we can contend.of course minus dunc ty love bryant.dont have enough to get an all star type player


Niko is a keeper.

heat for life

he better get alot better

Reality Czech

Correct. And as the article correctly points out (not to mention many sources), he has a good skill set, he’s continued to improve, he’s got size, and he just turned 21. Like Jaquez, he doesn’t need to be an all star, just a solid rotation player.


I think he has all-star potential. Like Lauri Markannan with better handles

heat for life

every rookie has all star potential when drafted we hope, in reality very few ever achieve it.like rc says if him and jjj are productive rotational players we should be happy


Jrich, Duncan, Jaquez, Jovic and Love are a pretty productive bench. It’s the starting unit that needs tweaking.

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