Last year, Australian Josh Giddy was chosen in the lottery. It is expected that Frenchman Victor Wembanyama will become the first draft pick next year.
There are no international prospects in this year’s draft that are predicted to rise to the level of Giddy or Wembanyama, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any international talents to admire.
The most interesting in the group? Nikola Jovic.
Jovic has only recently burst onto the scene. According to ESPN’s Jonathan Givonihe switched from water polo to basketball as a teenager and it wasn’t until March 2021 that he was considered a major player in Europe.
Jovic is now expected to hear his name in the first round of the draft.
From his biography to his strengths and weaknesses, here’s everything you need to know about the top European prospect in the 2022 NBA draft.
How old is Nikola Jovic?
Jovic is 19 years old and was born on June 9, 2003.
Where is Nikola Jovic from?
Jovic was born in England but from Serbia.
How tall is Nikola Jovic?
Jovic measured 6ft 11in in 7ft wingspan shoes for the 2022 NBA draft.
Is Nikola Jovic related to Nikola Jokic?
They are both Serbs and all but one letter in their names are the same, but no, Nikola Jovic and Nikola Jokic are not related. In fact, Jovic never met Jokic, though he hopes that will change soon.
A player named Nikola Jovic makes several hits on @nuggets pre-draft training.
Imagine if the team picks him? 🤯
— 𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐒𝐩𝐨𝐫𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐍𝐞𝐰𝐬 (@sportingnews) June 10, 2022
Nikola Jovic’s resume
Jovic spent the 2021-22 season playing for the senior men’s Mega Basket team in the Adriatic Basketball Association. In 25 games (19 starts), he averaged 11.7 points, 4.4 rebounds and 3.4 assists on .428/.356/.754 shooting (field goals/3-point/free throws).
At the end of the season, Jovic was named the ABA League Player of the Year, an honor given to the league’s best under-22 player. Previous winners include Dario Saric, Ante Zizic, Goga Bitadze and Jokic.
Jovic also received votes for best international non-NBA player some league general managers ahead of the 2021–22 season.
What are the strengths of Nikola Jovic?
Jovic is a 6’11 forward with defensive skills and a good sense of the game.
Jovic has a smooth shot with a range that extends to the three-point line, he has shown some potential as a shotmaker, handles the ball well for his size and is a legitimately good passer. He is not considered an elite athlete, but he runs well on the floor in transitions and is able to finish at the ring.
While he may have to put on weight to play as a power forward in the NBA, it’s not hard to imagine Jovic eventually playing the role of fourth forward or forward.
What are the weaknesses of Nikola Jovic?
The biggest blow for Jovic is that he needs to grow in size and improve as a defender.
Jovic will have to improve his defense a lot, as he is too straightforward to stay with the perimeter players all the time, but not physically enough to hit really big ones on the inside. Developing his off-the-ball defense and stabilizing his often-fluctuating motor will really help him win the lead as he will likely never have enough range or flexibility to be a 1v1 stopper. He has shown signs of growth lately using forwards like like Rodions Kuruc, when penetrating and using his positional length to change his shots in the paint.
Jovic also has room to grow as a finishing touch at the basket and can occasionally be prone to losing the ball, coughing the ball 2.7 times per game this season.
Comparison of Nikola Jovic to the NBA
Jovic is often compared to experienced European wingers such as Hedo Turkoglu, Danilo Gallinari and Denis Avdija.
Where is Nikola Jovic predicted to go in the 2022 NBA draft?
SN draft expert Kyle Irving ranked Jovic 21st overall in his last draft and sent him to the Grizzlies with the 22nd pick in his last tryout draft.
“Jovic is at his best on the perimeter with a tricky pass. But he’s also great with the ring when he finishes the attack smartly,” Irving writes. “He ends a strong season with the Mega Basket in the ABA where he has proven he is more than capable of taking on other pros.”