The Oklahoma City Thunder drafted a Serbian prospect not long ago in Aleksej Pokusevski, but will have the chance to take another swing on one in next month's draft. One of the most intriguing players in this class is jumbo guard Nikola Jovic.
With picks No. 30 and No. 34, he could be a great option to take a chance on if available.
Jovic has incredible size, standing at 6-foot-10 with guard skills. He absolutely thrives with the ball in his hands as a facilitator, but also could be effective off the ball at the next level.
When it comes to getting to his spot, Jovic is unselfish and can set teammates up or knock down shots from nearly anywhere. He's a smart player that processes the game at a high level, which is something Thunder GM Sam Presti looks for in his prospects.
With a lack of athleticism, explosiveness and physicality, one weakness of Jovic is his ability to finish around the rim. If he's able to improve upon that early in his NBA career, he could become extremely difficult to defend. With a smooth stroke from beyond the arc, he's already proven he can space the floor well at his size.
He's got a great feel for the game, possessing a unique ability to score, pass and rebound at a high level. As such, he could become a player that's known to notch a triple-double every once in a while if he evolves into a player that gets quality minutes in the NBA.
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While he isn't a great defender today, Jovic has the size and length to ultimately become effective on that end of the floor.
The biggest question for Jovic is what position he will play the next level. Will he become a unicorn guard, or will he get stuck in-between positions? This could ultimately come down to the system he's in and his development on the defensive end. In an ideal scenario, he could guard nearly any position with his size will also playing guard or forward on offense. This would allow him to slot into nearly any lineup.
Following in the footsteps of Serbians like Nikola Jokic and Aleksej Pokusevski, Jovic could become the next rising prospect from the country. On a team like Oklahoma City that has a great developmental program and time to work with a project, Jovic could be a perfect fit.
If he's available in the later range of picks the Thunder have, the 6-foot-10 prospect could be a player Presti considers.
It’s typically pretty hard to evaluate international talent, but with the pre-draft process teams should be able to assess whether they want to take a swing on him.