Heat forward Nikola Jovic didn’t get to play much during his rookie season in 2022/23, but he’s been making his mark at the 2023 World Cup, Ira Winderman writes in a pair of stories for The South Florida Sun Sentinel.
Competing for the Serbian national team, which went 3-0 in its group and advanced to the second round, Jovic had a solid if unspectacular first game, putting up nine points (on 3-of-6 shooting), three rebounds and two assists in 24 minutes against China.
On Monday against Puerto Rico, the 2022 first-round pick recorded a game-high 17 points (tied with teammate Bogdan Bogdanovic) on just nine field goal attempts. He also recorded four assists and three rebounds in 24 minutes.
Jovic followed up that strong performance with a perfect game on Wednesday against South Sudan, once again leading the contest with 25 points while shooting 9-of-9 from the field, to go along with three assists and two rebounds in 27 minutes.
Overall, the 20-year-old has averaged 17.0 PPG, 3.0 APG and 2.7 RPG with a scorching-hot .750/.667/.778 shooting line thus far. He has yet to commit a turnover in his 75 minutes on the court.
Here’s more from the Southeast:
- Former first-round pick Nikola Milutinov, whose draft rights are held by the Nets, praised his Serbian teammate after defeating South Sudan, per Cesare Milanti of Eurohoops.net. “He’s playing amazing, he’s a great part of our team and has a bright future,” Milutinov said of the Heat‘s Nikola Jovic. Serbia faces Italy on Friday and the Domnican Republic on Sunday.
- P.J. Washington‘s new contract with the Hornets features a declining structure, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks, who reports (via Twitter) that Washington will earn base salaries of $16.8MM, $15.5MM and $14.2MM over the next three years. The 25-year-old also has $500K in annual incentives, which are currently considered unlikely. Washington needs to play at least 74 games and 2,400 minutes to achieve the bonus in each season, Marks adds. Washington played a career-high 73 games for 2,380 total minutes last season.
- The Hornets‘ NBA G League affiliate, the Greensboro Swarm, has retained head coach Jordan Surenkamp for a third season, but the Swarm have a new general manager, per a team press release. Taking over GM duties is Cole Teal, who acted as manager of basketball operations and player development last season. Cole is replacing Cam Twiss, who is now a pro scout for Charlotte.