“I hope I’ll meet him soon” – The Denver Post


The most intriguing player from the Nuggets’ latest pre-NBA draft workout idolizes the franchise’s two-time MVP with an almost identical name.

“I’ve never met him. That’s a thing that I’ve always wanted to do,” Nikola Jovic told reporters Friday at Ball Arena when asked about Nikola Jokic. “I hope I’ll meet him soon.”

Jovic, 19, is a first-round prospect who traveled a similar basketball path to Jokic as Serbian natives. They both played for the same international club (KK Mega Bemax) before jumping to the NBA. Jovic — a versatile 6-foot-10, 223-pound wing — is expected to be drafted around when Denver picks at No. 21 overall in the first round.

Jovic left the Friday workout confident about a positive impression with Nuggets head coach Michael Malone in attendance.

“I showed a little bit of everything. A little bit of my shot. A little bit of my passing skills. Guard skills. Low-post skills,” Jovic said. “I see myself as a guy who always knows what the coach wants me to do on the court. If he wants me to be just a spot-up shooter who can rebound, I’ll be that. If he wants me to run the floor a little bit and run in transition, I’ll do that. If he wants me to defend all five positions, I’ll try that.”

Last season, playing in the Adriatic Basketball Association, Jovic averaged 12 points, 4.7 rebounds and 3.6 assists. While lauded for his playmaking and shot-creation, and not defensive prowess, Jovic has all the physical tools and length to become a versatile NBA defender.

“The game in Europe and here is really different. Here, it’s a fast-paced game with a lot of shots,” Jovic said. “I know it’s going to be hard. But if you love the game, if you have passion for the game, it’s going to be OK.”

Jovic represents a new generation of NBA hopefuls from Serbia inspired by the success of Jokic. Will their home country deliver another league-worthy talent in Jovic?

“A dream come true to me, all of this. Especially (working out for) the Nuggets,” Jovic said. “People in Serbia love basketball. For (Jokic) to be the two-time MVP, all the kids now, everybody wants to play basketball. … Everyone is up late to watch him.”