Foreign Relations: Nikola Jovic
Grab your passports...it's time to jump overseas and take a look at one of the top International Prospects in Serbian forward Nikola Jovic
It’s been a while Ladies and Gentlemen, but it’s time that we put another stamp on our NBA Draft passports.
After spending some time overseas coaching, I found myself falling in love with the idea of evaluating international prospects. It’s why I told my team at No Ceilings that I wanted to test myself when it came to focusing on the International Crop of prospects for this years class. From that moment, I’ve made it a point to “keep up with Foreign Relations.” After previously looking at some fascinating prospects overseas, such as Hugo Besson & Ismael Kamagate, the elephant in the room can no longer be ignored.
It’s the moment you’ve all been waiting for. The International “darling” of the 2022 NBA Draft Class.
It’s time to talk about Nikola Jovic.
Coming into the 2022 NBA Draft cycle, several prospects were generating some serious buzz. One of those was Serbian forward Nikola Jovic. Listed at 6’10”, Jovic immediately pops off the tape with his combination of size, length, and fluidity. He’s been a name that NBA personnel have been keeping tabs on over recent years, as there’s plenty of tools in the shed that are just waiting to be unleashed.
When you watch Jovic on tape, you immediately understand why there’s so much intrigue. Not only does Jovic has the size you’re looking for in a versatile forward, but he also can dazzle you with his playmaking and handles in the open court. But the harsh truth is that the water is still a bit cold on Jovic this year. Although he was once seen as a potential early lottery selection, a lack of consistency overseas has created some questions with scouts around the league. There’s no denying how unique and impactful Jovic can be when he’s rolling. He’s a player with a smooth shooting stroke from outside, and he’s not afraid to let you know it.
This year, Jovic is playing for prestigious Mega Bemax and has had his fair share of up-and-down performances. Scouts and NBA personnel have been patiently waiting for Jovic to find his groove and put together a solid stretch of performances, something that could start to heat up his Draft stock in a hurry. After a roller coaster of games earlier in the year, Jovic has recently put together his most impressive stretch of games. He’s averaged 15.5 points per game in his last four appearances, featuring a 25-point performance against KK Split that saw Jovic go 9-for-15 from the field. So far this year, the 18-year-old forward is averaging 10.7 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 2.8 assists per game while shooting 41.3% from the field and 37.7% from three.
Everyone good? Need a second to catch your breath? Okay, now let’s dive into the good stuff.
Make no mistake about it, Nikola Jovic loves to launch from deep. He’s attempting around 4.4 threes per game this year for Mega Bemax, but you can see that Jovic has some serious confidence with some of the shots he launches from deep. At 6’10” and just 18-years-old, you can understand the fascination with the upside that Jovic has a potential versatile weapon offensively. Great look here at an excellent catch-and-shoot opportunity, and we see the fluidity he has with his outside shot.
Have you ever seen the new Mad Max? You know the part where all the “War Boys” keep jumping off cars with spears after yelling “WITNESS ME.” Well…I feel like Nikola Jovic has that same thought running through his head with a couple of three’s he takes on tape. There’s no denying that Jovic has the confidence to show that he has this in his bag. The truth is that he will need to prove that this can be a more consistent weapon moving forward, especially when it comes to his potential fit at the NBA level. It’s become his most reliable weapon when it comes to his offensive game, so it will be interesting to see if the rest of the pieces can come together.
I found myself constantly wanting to see more versatility when it came to Jovic on the offensive side of the ball. From diving into his film, I personally believe that’s going to be the most interesting thing to monitor moving forward. I understand the intrigue when you combine the frame, athleticism, and outside stroke. However, I still think there are plenty of areas that need improvement when it comes to him becoming a more well-rounded prospect. This was a nice little display of Jovic punching the clock and going to work in a post-up mismatch. We get a good look at the footwork before a nice finish around the basket.
Finally, my curiosity started to build when I got the chance to see Jovic get out on the break. The frame and athleticism are definitely intriguing, and it still looks as if Jovic is trying to figure out what he can do on the basketball court when it comes to his size. Mega get’s the defensive rebound here, and immediately we see Jovic hit the turbo button and get out in transition.
MAY I HAVE THIS DANCE?
You know earlier how I talked about Mad Max “Witness me” three’s? Yeah…this is right up there as well. In all seriousness, it's an intriguing look at the handle package that Jovic has developed with his game. There are definitely times on tape where you can see that Jovic is trying to do things off the dribble, but he’s still struggling when it comes to consistently blowing by quicker defenders. It could be something to monitor moving forward, but it also could just be him needing to develop his package when it comes to a player who can consistently create separation off the bounce. Regardless, nice tease here of the upside that Jovic has before splashdown.
PLAYMAKER…PARTY OF 1
I’ll admit that I found myself sort of giving the “eh” sound effect on repeat while watching Jovic. That was until I found myself intrigued with the playmaking potential. Now I’m not going to deny that some of these looks are absolutely awesome. Jovic can also get a little erratic with his passes which might scare some. The more significant thing to take away from some of his wild looks is that he’s making the correct reads. Jovic knows where the ball is supposed to go, and he anticipates it, but it still does look like he is trying to do things too quickly before processing the actual defense. It’s not a terrible thing; it just shows the rawness in his game which will hopefully develop with time. Great drive here by Jovic above to attack the defense, and then he shows the understanding to kick out for a wide-open three.
“NOW WE’RE TALKING”
Now, this is the type of s**t I love to see. Great job here by Nikola Jovic of using this pick & roll opportunity to create a gorgeous assist. What I love so much here is the feel and patience to set things up. Jovic does a great job of coming off the screen, but he also creates this look with his patience and timing. Notice how he shields off the trailing defender while also making the last line of defense react. Once the defense finally bites on the play, Jovic throws a gorgeous dime for the finish.
Another great look at the playmaking ability that Jovic has in his bag. Great job of running the floor here while surveying the floor, and then Jovic throws a bullet pass off the bounce to the trailing big man up the court.
EXTRA PASS CITY
There’s also plenty of flashes on tape in which you see that Nikola Jovic shows some maturity when it comes to reading the floor and understanding where the ball is supposed to go. Nice little action from Mega Bemax here, and I love how Jovic sells this look before rifling over a dime to a wide-open teammate for a three. Great unselfish play, and we love the extra pass over here.
I hope you have laughed at some of these titles above because I am giggling while typing them out. Okay, back to business. I love me some playmakers with size, and Jovic throws a great live hand dribble dime on the absolute money here. Jovic knows where he wants to go with this pass the moment he gets to the top of the key, and I just love how on target this dime is.
After diving down the rabbit hole and watching Jovic launch three’s from different countries, I finally found myself intrigued once I got to see the playmaking on display. Great job here of Jovic attacking the closeout and then quickly surveying the floor. This is one of those plays that might look easy on tape, but in the moment, it’s a much more impressive look than some realize.
Nikola Jovic will continue to be one of the most fascinating prospects in this 2022 NBA Draft class. After a roller coaster of an opening month of performances, the 18-year-old has started to finally find his groove. Now the biggest question moving forward is, can he keep that momentum. Jovic has been a cold name in scouting circles so far this year, but teams continue to wait to see if the consistency on the court can come around for an extended stretch. If the 6’10” forward can continue to put together some solid performances, then maybe the International “darling” will start to see his 2022 NBA Draft stock heat up in a hurry.