Nikola Djurisic matured in the year between first and second NBA Draft workout with Indiana Pacers

Djurisic is in the pre-draft process again
Serbian forward Nikola Djurisic speaks with the media after a pre-draft workout with the Indiana Pacers. (Mandatory Photo Credit: Pacers on SI)
Serbian forward Nikola Djurisic speaks with the media after a pre-draft workout with the Indiana Pacers. (Mandatory Photo Credit: Pacers on SI) /
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INDIANAPOLIS — So far, the list of players who have gone through a pre-draft workout with the Indiana Pacers in each of the last two seasons is just one name: Nikola Djurisic.

The Serbian forward was in the mix during the early portion of the NBA Draft cycle in 2023, but he took his name out of the pool in mid June of that year. He needed to get better in many ways before he was ready for the NBA.

Yet prior to removing himself from the field of prospects, Djurisic went through a pre-draft workout with the Pacers. Yesterday, he did so again. The young forward has now tried to prove himself to Indiana executives twice, and there is a big difference between the two sessions.

"Last year, I wasn't mature," Djurisic said this week. "I grew as a person and as a basketball player. I improved my game, especially my shooting." He believes that his improved outside shot will be important in the NBA, and he's trying to prove it in the pre-draft cycle.

The 20-year old is among the youngest players that have hit the hardwood in front of Pacers executives during this pre-draft cycle. Most mock drafts have Djurisic being selected in the early to middle portion of the second round, and the Pacers currently have picks 36, 49, and 50.

Last season, the forward was with KK Mega Bemax. He averaged 14.8 points and 3.4 assists per game across all competitions while improving his efficiency from all over the court. It was exactly the season he needed after exiting the pre-draft process last season.

The program he is leaving has produced a ton of NBA talent in the last 15 or so years. Three-time MVP Nikola Jokic highlights the list of KK Mega Bemax players that are in the association, but there are plenty more, including Nikola Jovic, former Pacer Goga Bitadze, Vlatko Cancar, Ivica Zubac, and Vasilije Micic.

Djurisic said that the program prepares players for the NBA well thanks to their practice style and shooting work. He hopes to be the next great player to come from Mega into the NBA.

As a four-year pro already overseas, he thinks that can happen quickly. "I'll be a rookie. I'll help do the dirty work. Just play for my teammates. Make the right plays," he said of what he hopes to accomplish in the league.

He had a chance to show that off in his draft workout with Indiana. That's noteworthy, because beyond being more mature, Djurisic could show that he was a better player. It was a chance at redemption and a chance to prove he made the right choice to stay in Europe in 2023.

"I was more prepared. Last year, I was battling with some issues, like my body. So I wasn't really ready 100%," he said. "Now, I [am] ready. I think I did a very good job."

The young wing shared that NBA executives want him to become a better shooter — he canned just 30.5% of his threes last season. Some decision makers have told him to work on his handle and rebounding, but many like his passing and unselfishness. He's a great leader for his age, too.

He'll hope to be selected in the NBA Draft, which begins one week from today. With multiple workouts over two seasons and his ability to do many things, Nikola Djurisic should be selected somewhere. Perhaps after multiple workouts across two years, it will be by Indiana.

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Tony East


Tony East is the Publisher of AllPacers. He has previously written for Forbes Sports, the West Indianapolis Community News, WTHR, and more while hosting the Locked On Pacers podcast.