Heat draft Serbian forward Nikola Jovic with 27th pick – WSVN 7News | Miami News, Weather, Sports

(AP) – Serbian forward Nikola Jovic was selected by the Miami Heat as the 27th pick in Thursday’s NBA draft.

The 19-year-old was born in England and moved to Serbia at the age of 9. He played last season for Mega Basket in the Serbian league, averaging 11.7 points on 43% shooting in that league.

The 6-foot-11, 210-pounder also has some range, firing 36% of a 3-point range for Mega.

“This was a dream for me, and now dreams come true,” Jovic said in a television interview right after his selection. “I’m really lucky to be here now. Grateful to the Miami organization for drafting me.

His name is often confused with Nikola Jokic of Denver, the two-time reigning NBA MVP – also from Serbia.

Jovic said he hopes to meet Jokic someday.

“It would be crazy,” Jovic said.

Miami was No. 1 in the Eastern Conference last season, progressing to the Conference Finals, losing a Game 7 at home to eventual NBA runner-up Boston. The Heat has most of their key pieces under contract for next season, and in many cases beyond, with core Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo and Kyle Lowry all with several years to go.

History has shown that the selection of No. 27 can be a good one. There were five players — all 27 picks — who averaged at least 10 points per game last season, including Toronto’s Pascal Siakam, Washington’s Kyle Kuzma, Utah’s Rudy Gobert, Atlanta’s Bogdan Bogdanovic, and Boston’s Robert Williams.

Some have even made it into the Hall of Fame after being drafted 27th, anchoring Dennis Rodman in 2011. Also in the Hall: The player who was the No. 27 in the 1964 draft – John Thompson, who failed to average 3.5 points in 74 games with the Celtics, instead for his storied coaching career with Georgetown.

The Heat does not have a second round of selection. They had to forfeit what would have been their second round this year after the NBA found they had broken league rules regarding the timing of free agent negotiations while working on the deal that brought Lowry to Miami last summer.

Chicago was also found to have committed a similar offense last summer — in his case, the negotiations led to the deal that brought Lonzo Ball to the Bulls — and his second rounder was also taken away this year. Those forfeitures by the Heat and Bulls are why this draft is composed of just 58 picks instead of the usual 60.

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