Who is Nikola Jovic? Meet the top European NBA Draft prospect in 2022

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Last year, Australia’s Josh Giddey was selected in the lottery. Next year, France’s Victor Wembanyama is expected to be the No. 1 pick in the draft.

There isn’t an international prospect in this year’s draft projected to go as high as Giddey or Wembanyama, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t any international talent to get excited about.

The most interesting one in the group? Nikola Jovic.

Jovic only recently burst onto the scene. According to ESPN’s Jonathan Givony, he switched from playing water polo to basketball as a teenager, and it wasn’t until March of 2021 that he was considered to be a major prospect in Europe.

Now, Jovic is expected to hear his name called in the first round of the draft.

From his background 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?

Born on June 9, 2003, Jovic is 19 years old.

Where is Nikola Jovic from?

Jovic was born in England but is from Serbia.

How tall is Nikola Jovic?

Jovic measured at 6-foot-11 in shoes with a 7-foot wingspan at the 2022 NBA Draft Combine.

Is Nikola Jovic related to Nikola Jokic?

They’re both Serbian and all but one letter in their names is the same, but no, Nikola Jovic and Nikola Jokic aren’t related. In fact, Jovic hasn’t ever met Jokic, though he hopes that’ll change soon.

Nikola Jovic’s resume

Jovic spent the 2021-22 season playing for Mega Basket’s senior men’s 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 splits (field goals/3-pointers/free throws).

Jovic was named the ABA League Top Prospect at the season’s end, an honor that goes to the league’s best player aged 22 and under. Previous winners include Dario Saric, Ante Zizic, Goga Bitadze and Jokic.

Jovic also earned votes for best international player not in the NBA by some of the league’s general managers ahead of the 2021-22 season.

What are Nikola Jovic’s strengths?

Jovic is a 6-foot-11 forward with guard skill and a good feel for the game.

Jovic has a smooth shooting stroke with range that extends out to the 3-point line, flashed some potential as a shot creator, handles the ball well for his size and is a legitimately good passer. He’s not considered to be an elite athlete, but he runs the floor well in transition and is capable of finishing at the rim.

While he might need to bulk up to play power forward in the NBA, it’s not hard to see Jovic eventually playing the role of a stretch four or point forward.

What are Nikola Jovic’s weaknesses?

The biggest knock on Jovic is that he needs to add some size and improve as a defender.

From ESPN’s Mike Schmitz:

Jovic will have to improve drastically on defense, as he’s a bit too upright to consistently stay with perimeter players yet not quite physical enough to bang with true bigs on the interior. Evolving his off-ball defense and stabilizing his often-fluctuating motor will really help him win the margins, as he’s likely never going to quite have the range or flexibility to be a 1-on-1 stopper. He has shown signs of growth lately, bodying up forwards like Rodions Kurucs on penetration and using his positional length to change shots in the paint. 

Jovic also has room to improve as a finisher around the basket and can be turnover prone at times, coughing the ball up 2.7 times per game this season.

Nikola Jovic NBA comparisons

Jovic is often compared to skilled European wings such as Hedo Turkoglu, Danilo Gallinari and Deni Avdija.

Where is Nikola Jovic projected to go in the 2022 NBA Draft?

SN’s draft expert Kyle Irving had Jovic ranked 21st on his most recent big board and had him going to the Grizzlies with the 22nd pick in his most recent mock draft.

“Jovic is at his best playing on the perimeter with crafty passing skills. But he also has great touch around the basket as a slithery finisher,” writes Irving. “He is coming off of a strong season with Mega Basket in the ABA, where he proved he’s more than capable of holding his own against other pros.”



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