Miami Heat team president Pat Riley has every intention of developing draft pick Nikola Jovic.
After the Heat made the surprise pick at No. 27 in Thursday's NBA draft, Riley said Jovic excels in several aspects of the game.
“You don’t know where the development will go," Riley said. "All matches internationally. The quality of the competition has really gone up. He is very well guided. He’s a size 6-10, he’s tall, he can handle the ball, he’s extremely skilled. We feel we made the right choice.”
Even with the Heat expected to have an active free agency period next month, Riley said keeping Jovic remains a strong possibility.
“We have a team that we don’t know what’s going to happen in free agency," Riley said. "We’d rather develop the player now. You could delay picks along the way. There wasn’t really anything that exciting, so we decided to use the pick.”
The area Jovic needs to improve most is defensively. Riley said it will come with time.
“He has a lot of height and we will work very hard with him," Riley said. "All those players 19, 20, 21 aren’t really great defenders until they learn it. He’s fast, long enough to defend.”
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Cory Nelson is a contributor to Inside The Heat. He attended Northern Virginia Community College. He can be reached at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @CKenzyNelson