Southeast Notes: Micic, Wizards, Vukcevic, Jovic, Herro

Hornets guard Vasilije Micic is one of the more unusual NBA rookies in recent memory. A two-time EuroLeague champion and two-time EuroLeague Final Four MVP who also won the regular season MVP for 2020/21, the 30-year-old signed a three-year deal with Oklahoma City last summer.

Despite his excellent international résumé, Micic struggled to crack the Thunder’s deep rotation, and he was sent to Charlotte at the trade deadline. According to Roderick Boone of The Charlotte Observer, the Serbian veteran said he’s still trying to find his footing in the NBA.

I’m still trying to find myself,” said Micic. “It’s a mix of what’s really happening. We have a lot of injured players and it’s something that opened a lot of room for me in terms of minutes. But at the same time I’m at the age of, now, 30 and I’ve kind of shaped my game already. And I’m coming from five years of playing … the same way.

So, it’s not an easy to adjust to fit in the team that needs more of a creator or passer — whatever it is. And I’m just trying to find the mix to still be aggressive, to still be capable of also scoring. But at the same time playing the right way.”

Micic had the best game of his NBA career in Wednesday’s victory over Memphis, recording 25 points (on 9-of-10 shooting), eight assists and two steals in 30 minutes. He has now scored in double figures in seven straight games, averaging 15.4 PPG, 6.4 APG, 2.9 RPG and 1.3 SPG over that span (31.3 MPG).

Here’s more from the Southeast:

  • After winning two straight games, the Wizards had a “soft, all-too-often listless performance” on Tuesday against an injury-plagued Memphis team, writes Josh Robbins of The Athletic. Forward Kyle Kuzma, who started at center with Marvin Bagley III (lower back spasm) and Richaun Holmes (left big toe sprain) injured, didn’t mince words after the loss. “We disrespected the game,” Kuzma said. “We disrespected ourselves. … It also just boils down to professionalism and giving a f— a little bit. And tonight, we just didn’t. Anybody (on the Grizzlies) could go score. Anybody could lay the ball in. We were playing selfish on both ends. Just wasn’t good tonight from all of us.”
  • 2023 second-round pick Tristan Vukcevic spent most of this season playing in Europe, but he just signed a two-year contract with the Wizards. A league source tells Keith Smith of Spotrac (Twitter link) that the 21-year-old big man received $2,424,892 for the remainder of 2023/24 via the mid-level exception, and Washington holds a team option at the same rate for ’24/25. Vukcevic reportedly had a buyout worth seven figures, which explains why his salary is far above the norm for a second-rounder. Dionysis Aravantinos of HoopsHype takes a closer look at the young Serbian’s game and what he could bring to the Wizards.
  • With Tyler Herro and Kevin Love injured, Heat forward Nikola Jovic has received extended playing time the past few weeks. Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel examines whether Jovic will stick in the rotation once Miami gets back to full strength. Head coach Erik Spoelstra said on Wednesday there’s still no return timeline for Herro, who has missed nine consecutive games with a foot injury (Twitter link via Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press). “He’s doing everything he needs to do,” Spoelstra said.
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