Miami Heat Earn High Praise for 2022 First-Round Draft Pick

Nikola Jovic

Getty Nikola Jovic poses for photos on the red carpet during the 2022 NBA Draft at Barclays Center on June 23, 2022 in New York City.

After weeks of speculation, the Miami Heat officially selected Serbian star Nikola Jovic with their No. 27 overall pick for the 2022 NBA Draft. While rumored reports circled that the Heat would trade their first-round pick to land a superstar like Bradley Beal, it seems Jovic is here to stay.

Jovic, 19, was the sixth-youngest prospect among the Top 50 players ranked prior to the draft, as reported by SB Nation‘s Jack Borman. The former Mega Bemax (Serbia) forward is 6-foot-11, 223 pounds, and has a 7-foot wingspan.

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The newest Heat player can also shoot. He finished last season in the Adriatic League averaging 12.0 points, 4.8 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 0.7 steals, while shooting 41.4% from the floor and 31.5% from beyond the arc, per Hot Hot Hoops.

Borman wrote of Jovic prior to the draft, “He is comfortable running off screens to quickly catch-and-fire triples, commonly shoots right over the top of contesting defenders in traditional C&S situations, and is capable of setting up 3s with basic dribble combos that keep bigger wings off balance. His shooting talent is undoubtedly NBA-caliber.”

Analysts Across the League ‘Love’ Jovic for the Heat

After Jovic was selected by the Heat, Miami Heat’s front office earned high praise for their selection. CBS Sports Jake Winderman tweeted, “Absolutely LOVE this Nikola Jovic pick for the Heat. You’ve got an oversized wing who can shoot the hell out of the ball and isn’t afraid to pound the rock and play make. So much potential there for Miami to work with. Going to be awesome.”

NBA analyst Naveen Ganglani tweeted, “Can’t help but be enticed on what 6-11 Serbian Nikola Jovic can bring, assuming Miami keeps its 27th pick in the #NBADraft. He plays physical, he can handle in PNR, moves off the ball, he defends, he can hit the outside shot, and he’s both aggressive/explosive attacking the rim.”

Hot Hot Hoops’ Matt Hanifan tweeted, ” love the Nikola Jovic fit in the Heat developmental system. Solid shooter. Good slasher. Was terrific overseas and is very young. I like this.”

One downside to Jovic is his turnover rate, 2.7 per game last season. Borman wrote, “There may be growing pains initially with Jović learning the high wall scheme and what it requires of him as a low-man tagging rollers and x-ing out to contest shooters on the perimeter, but he projects to be someone capable of doing those things given his length, fluid mobility and playmaking instincts to make it work.”

Erik Spoelstra & Pat Riley Said The Heat Were Looking to Draft a Player ‘To Develop’

Without a Top-10 pick, Heat’s head coach Erik Spoelstra told Miami Herald’s Anthony Chiang that they were looking for a player they could mold.

“For our franchise that hopefully we’re winning a lot, you’re not going to have great draft pick position,” Spoelstra said. “So you’re going to have to find ways to develop players in other ways. Our scouting department, obviously, is just outstanding. They understand exactly what we’re looking for. They’ve adjusted to how we play and what fits best with our current team.

“That’s from the top. [Senior advisor of basketball operations] Chet Kammerer led it for many years, but [assistant general manager] Adam Simon and his staff have just been amazing in finding the right kind of guys that would fit in here that can handle our program.”

After the selection was made on Thursday night, “I would rather get the player now, develop him… There wasn’t really anything that was that exciting, so we decided to use the pick,” Heat president Pat Riley said, as tweeted by Chiang.

“He’s very skilled and grew about 7 or 8 inches in the last year,” Riley continued, per Five Reasons Sports Network’s Alex Donno. “He’s played against some really good teams, he’s played against a lot of good players. We feel like we got a very good pick at that number.”

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