Miami Heat's Nikola Jovic Proving He Can Do It On The Defensive End

Apr 12, 2024; Miami, Florida, USA;  Miami Heat forward Nikola Jovic (5) drives past Toronto Raptors - Jim Rassol/USA Today Sports
Apr 12, 2024; Miami, Florida, USA; Miami Heat forward Nikola Jovic (5) drives past Toronto Raptors - Jim Rassol/USA Today Sports / Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Heat knew Nikola Jovic could score when they drafted him in 2022.

Now, he's proving he can produce on the defensive end. That has made it easier for coach Erik Spoelstra to play him more in the rotation this season. Jovic had 22 points on 9 of 18 shooting in Friday's key victory against the Toronto Raptors.

"Defense is the thing that keeps you on the court," Jovic said. "As long as I can be good there, I think I will be able to play. I feel at this point they believe in me and they see that I really defend. That's what I've worked on a lot. That's what I'm going to keep working on."

Spoelstra said Jovic is doing everything required that will keep him in the rotation once the postseason begins. The Heat have one game left to see if they can avoid the Play-In Tournament. The chances of that happening are slim because the Heat need help from others to reach the No. 6 seed.

Regardless, the Heat are happy with Jovic's development in his second season. They now have drafted well in two straight seasons after taking Jaime Jaquez last year.

"He and Bam [Adebayo] are unique because they both can handle, they both can initiate, they both can pass," Spoelstra said of Jovic. "Niko has really developed and worked on his shooting ability. And then all of the hours drilling our defense, it's gotten incrementally better each week of the season whether he's in the rotation or not."


Published
Shandel Richardson

SHANDEL RICHARDSON