Last year, Australia’s Josh Giddey won the lottery. Next year, France’s Victor Venbanyama is expected to be the No. 1 pick in the draft.
There aren’t as high international prospects in this year’s draft as Giddy or Vinbanyama, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any international talents to be excited about.
The funniest one in the group? Nikolai Jovic.
Jovic has only recently been on the scene. According to ESPN’s Jonathan Givony, he switched from water polo to basketball as a teenager and isn’t considered a major prospect in Europe until March 2021.
Now, Jovic is expected to hear his name in the first round.
From his background to his strengths and weaknesses, here’s everything you need to know about Europe’s top rookie in the 2022 NBA draft.
How old is Nikola Jovic?
Jovic was born on June 9, 2003 and is 19 years old.
Where is Nikola Jovic from?
Jovic was born in England but from Serbia.
How tall is Nikola Jovic?
At the 2022 NBA Combine, Jovic is 6-foot-11 with a 7-foot wingspan.
Are Nikola Jovic and Nikola Jokic related?
They are both Serbs and have only one letter in their names the same, but no, Nikola Jovic and Nikola Jokic are not related by blood. In fact, Jovic has never met Jokic, although he hopes that will change soon.
A player named Nikola Jovic is @Nuggets Workout before the draft.
Imagine if the team drafted him? 🤯
— 𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐒𝐩𝐨𝐫𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐍𝐞𝐰𝐬 (@sportingnews) June 10, 2022
Nikola Jovic biography
Jovic plays for the Adriatic Basketball Association’s Mega Basket senior men’s team for the 2021-22 season. In 25 games (19 starts), he’s averaging 11.7 points, 4.4 rebounds and 3.4 assists on .428/.356/.754 field goal percentage (shooting/three-point/free throw).
Jovic was named the ABA Rookie of the Year at the end of the season, an honor that belongs to the league’s best player 22 and younger. Previous winners include Dario Saric, Ante Zizic, Goga Bitadze and Jokic.
Ahead of the 2021-22 season, Jovic has also received votes from some of the league’s general managers for the best non-NBA international player.
What are Nikolajovic’s strengths?
Jovic is a 6-foot-11 forward with guard skills and a good feel for the game.
Jovic has a smooth shot that extends to the 3-point line, shows some potential as a shot creator, handles the ball well for his size and is a decent passer. He’s not considered an elite athlete, but he runs well in transition and has the ability to finish at the rim.
While he may need to build up to play power forward in the NBA, it’s not hard to see Jovic ending up in a quarterback or scoring forward role.
What is Nikolajovic’s weakness?
The biggest blow to Jovic is that he needs to add some size and improve as a defender.
From ESPN’s Mike Schmitz:
Jovic will have to improve defensively because he’s a little too straight to stay with perimeter players all the time, but not physically strong enough to deal with real bigs in the paint. Developing his off-ball defense and stabilizing his often fluctuating movement will really help him win the edge, as he may never have enough range or flexibility to be a one-on-one finisher. He’s been showing signs of growth lately, building body on forward drives like Rodions Kurucs and using his length to change shots inside.
Jovic also has room to improve as a finisher at the rim and has occasionally turned the ball over, coughing up the ball 2.7 times per game this season.
Nikola Jovic NBA Comparison
Jovic is often compared to skilled European wingers such as Hedo Turkoglu, Danilo Gallinari and Denis Avdia.
Where is Nikola Jovic expected to go in the 2022 NBA draft?
SN’s draft expert Kyle Irving had Jovic with the 21st overall pick in his most recent big board and had him go to the Grizzlies with the 22nd overall pick in the most recent mock draft.
“Jovic plays best on the perimeter with his clever passing skills. But he’s also great at the rim as a slippery finisher,” Irving wrote. “He spent his time at the ABA’s Mega Basket. Had a strong season where he proved he’s more than capable of going up against other pros.”