The Adriatic League Top Prospect award winner, Nikola Jovic broke out in the last 12 months between FIBA U19s and his time with Mega. On the season, Jovic averaged 12 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 3.6 APG, 0.7 SPG, 0.5 BPG, and 3 TOPG on shooting splits of 41/32/72. Below is his full scouting report:
Name: Nikola Jovic
Wingspan/ standing reach: 7’0 ¼ / 9’0 ½
Hand size: 9 ¾
Pre-Draft team: Mega (Serbia)
Tools: Shooting, guard skills + size
- Pure 3 point stroke
- Good spot-up shooter
- Ability to create jump shots one-on-one
- Great at finding cutters
- Has reliable post moves
- Capable playmaker in any capacity; runs P&R sets well
- Excellent size for a creator
- Projectable floater
- Good scoring at the rim off of cuts
- Comfortable taking shots at the rim with both hands
- Can put his man in jail off of screens behind him
- Great transition passer
- Lacks high-end athleticism
- Defensive upside is limited
- Needs to add strength/muscle
- Needs to reduce turnovers/ improve pass accuracy
- Needs to finish at the rim more consistently
- Right hand dominant, especially within the 3 point line
- Must become more efficient overall
- Must become a better decision maker in traffic; can take bad shots
Nikola Jovic is a unique prospect that possesses guard skills at a power forward’s size, with elite upside as a perimeter scorer at his size.
The first unique part of Jovic’s game is his playmaking ability at nearly 7’0. His ability to run pick & roll sets at 6’11, even if this is only an average skill, creates a major mismatch for defenses in the NBA. His ability to pass over defenses, run point in transition, run clean P&R sets in the halfcourt, and to find shooters and cutters makes him one of the most unique playmakers in the draft given his 6’11 height.
Jovic’s ability to draw out dribbles against double teams on the perimeter to open up cutting opportunities makes him absolutely special as a playmaker. Many players his size, or even his age, pick up their dribble too early, but this is not a case for Jovic. In fact, Jovic’s composure against double teams to not walk out of bounds/into trouble on many P&R traps makes his game projectable up to the NBA as he continues to develop.
Defensively, Jovic is a clear negative. Lacking much athleticism to make high-level plays, he will be hunted as a defender against the premier scorers in the league. Jovic’s best bet is that his frame gives him a cushion in the NBA to not be a negative defender by having a rim protector behind him that can clean up his mistakes.
As a shooter, Jovic has high potential; his efficiency on spot-up attempts is already strong (40% from 3 on spot-ups), but his shooting off the dribble needs improvement. While he has the skill to create his own shot and get set on the perimeter, he simply needs to make more shots and find what gets him in rhythm more consistently and easily. In order to become an elite spot-up shooter, Jovic must be more efficient at scoring and shooting off of screens.
While Jovic struggles to score at the rim, many of his issues as a finisher come from his own dribble moves. Jovic was an efficient cutter, showcasing comfort with both hands and ability to finish around defenses. In order to fully unlock his finishing abilities, Jovic must get stronger. Adding strength will help him finish through contact and likely be more confident in finishing at the rim.
Overall, Jovic’s size + skill combination makes him a safe first rounder that will be hard to resists for NBA teams. Even if just his perimeter creation ability as a scorer and playmaker translate, that becomes an instant rotational value piece for any NBA team. There have been some concerns since coming to the states in May, but ultimately a team will have to trust their interviews and background checks to take a risk on the 6’11 guard.
Similar to: Tobias Harris without defense, Evan Fournier
Projected draft range: 18-35
Expected role: Mismatch creator with near-elite shooting upside.
Unplayable if: Lack of defense and 2 point scoring negate his perimeter creation/shooting abilities.
Exceeds expectations if: Perimeter shooting & creation abilities translate and grow into an elite skill, with finishing developing. A 6’11 creator and shooter becomes a top 10 player in any draft.