Miami Heat executive Adam Simon recently expressed joy with how forward Nikola Jovic is performing for Serbia at the FIBA World Cup.
“We are extremely happy with Nikola’s performances at the World Cup,” Simon said to Meridian sport. “Coach [Svetislav] Pešić has given him a great opportunity. We have seen how hard he works. He has shown a lot of potential. Jovic has demonstrated great versatility within the team. The coach uses him in several ways on offense. Nikola is one of the youngest players in the tournament, but he plays like a veteran.”
Jovic, 20, has been one of Serbia’s top performers in the World Cup so far. He’s averaging 10.7 points, 2.5 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 0.3 steals and 0.2 blocks per game across six World Cup games.
The 6-foot-10 forward’s best game of the tournament to this point came against South Sudan. He flat-out dominated the game as a scorer, as he finished with 25 points and converted all nine of his field-goal attempts, including five 3-pointers. Serbia ended up winning the game by a wide margin, as it beat South Sudan by a final score of 115-83.
Conversely, Jovic’s worst game of the World Cup so far came against the Dominican Republic. He scored zero points in 24 minutes of playing time and missed all four of his shots from the field. Still, Serbia dominated the Dominican Republic — despite a 25-point performance from Minnesota Timberwolves star big man Karl-Anthony Towns — and won by 33 points.
Jovic was selected with the No. 27 overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft and has played one season in the NBA with the storied Heat franchise. He averaged 5.5 points, 2.1 rebounds and 0.7 assists per game in 15 appearances with Miami during the 2022-23 regular season (eight starts).
He starred in four games with the Heat during the 2023 Summer League. He averaged 15.0 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game while shooting 33.3 percent from behind the three-point arc. The forward didn’t play in the final three games of the Heat’s Summer League slate because he was preparing for the World Cup.
Considering Jovic has performed at a high level in NBA Summer League and the World Cup, he may very well be ready for a larger role with the Heat in the 2023-24 regular season. Here’s to hoping that the Serbian will be able to earn himself a spot in head coach Erik Spoelstra’s rotation at some point in his sophomore season.