The least we can say is that the beginnings of Nikola Jovic in the summer league were complicated. The Serbian interior of the Heat struggled well with a total of 9 points at 4/14 in its first two outings. Then that night for the last match of the California Classic against the Warriors, he set the sights and signed a superb performance: 25 points at 9/16 including 5/7 from afar and 9 rebounds.
The transition from Europe to here was very difficult,” said Nikola Jovic, “and today, thanks to my teammates, my coach and everyone who believed in me, my shots came in. The first two games were very difficult for me. I was just trying to get to know everyone. The game, as I said, is different. »
He knew how to be patient even if necessarily these first two performances were frustrating when all the rookies want to do so well for their debut in the summer league.
“He’s so humble, and he wants to be good right away, which is a good character trait,” said Malik Allenassistant toErik Spoelstra and coach of the Heat in the summer league. “He almost apologized after the last two games. And I just told him, ‘You just gotta keep playing, trusting, keep playing and learning. And he’s been great at following that advice. You could see him coming, he was getting more and more comfortable with what we’re trying to do. He really reacted and I was happy for him. As I said, the last two days he was too depressed.
He performed well on both sides of the field, boosted by a jump shot that finally found the target. He’s been working on it a lot over the past few days.
We did a shootout on Sunday,” Jovic said. “I tried to adjust my shot and I had some good shots today. I try to get used to it. »
Then the Heat use him in a whole new role. A swingman by training, who played mainly outside, he played in 4 and 5.
“I had never played a power winger or a pivot,” said the Serb. “So actually it was a first for me. I know I’m not very good at these positions, so I’m trying to get used to it. »
What particularly made a strong impression during this match and which is not really such a big surprise for those who know him, is his defense. With his mobility he could become a very solid player on this side of the field, especially on switches. For example, he defended well against Moses Moody.
“I can’t sit here and say his defense overall is ready for a playoff game,” Allen said. “But, at the same time, he’s done a very, very good job of learning things and being challenged when teams try to switch him on the ball. That’s what we want. You want someone who is competitive in one-on-one defense and he has shown that. »
If it remains only one match, this progression is very interesting and will be confirmed on the side of Las Vegas.
“I watched how I was playing. I watched the first two games several times,” Jovic said. “Because, as I said, I don’t play with the ball that much, I have a different role in the team. I try to understand things. After two difficult matches, I think it was good today. Now I know I can put a few more baskets in the NBA. »
Via Sun Sentinel