Nikola Jovic: ‘I’m just waiting for the opportunity. You can’t rush through things’

Even though the Miami Heat are in win-now mode, they always have players they develop from the bottom up. Nikola Jovic is the latest young player to go through their system. Now in his second season with the Miami Heat, he hopes to become the next Serbian to make a name for himself.

After a recent game against the Clippers, Jovic chatted briefly with HoopsHype to talk about his development, staying patient, the World Cup, and more.

What sorts of things have you learned playing in the G League?

Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports
Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

Nikola Jovic: It’s a tough league to play. People want to get a standard contract and two-ways. Everybody is fighting for a contract. You can learn a lot of things. First of all, the most important one is learn how to win games. That’s definitely good for me, developing, winning games, playing some good defense. That’s what I go down for.

You’re now in your second season. What would you say you developed the most since you came in as a rookie?

NJ: I’d say my body for sure. My shots for sure, just an all-around game. I still don’t know which position I can be. That’s why I work on everything. I want to be an all-around player. That’s what I’m trying to do.

Can you speak about your confidence level from when you first practiced against your Heat teammates to where you are now?

Christopher Creveling-USA TODAY Sports
Christopher Creveling-USA TODAY Sports

NJ: I feel real confident. When I first came in, I thought it would be easy. I was a young kid who had some crazy moments. I feel confident. I feel great on the court, I’m just waiting for the opportunity. You can’t rush through things. I’m sure it’ll come soon too, so I’m going to see where I’m at, help the team, show the coaches I can play.

You’re only 20 years old, but you probably feel like you get on the court and contribute. How difficult has it been to stay patient and trust the process?

NJ: I mean, it’s difficult. The only thing is, as long as I’m in practices, as long as I’m developing, I feel like you can do good in both ways. Even if I’m not playing, I’m developing more. If I play, I probably wouldn’t be able to practice as much, but now I’m developing things I’m going to be great at.

What sorts of advice has guys like Jimmy Butler and Kyle Lowry given you that has really helped you?

NJ: Great [advice]. Both of them, I love them. I respect them a lot, that’s the first thing. What they do for us, for the league, for me, they’re great vets. They teach us how to win, how to stay in the league as long as you can, because staying in the league is hard.

Your Serbian teammate Bogdan Bogdanovic had a lot of positive things to say about you especially after the World Cup. Can you speak a bit about your relationship with him?

Yong Teck Lim/Getty Images
Yong Teck Lim/Getty Images

NJ: He’s a great dude. I love him. He’s like my older brother. I learned a lot of things from him. He’s an unbelievable player, which is good for the NBA. Even though he may not have as big of a role as he does in Europe, people don’t really get how good of a player he is. He’s a great team player, a great all-around player, and everything that he does I’m trying to learn and see how good I can be.

Has your relationship with Nikola Jokic grown over the past couple months?

NJ: Of course. Just seeing him more and more now, I can understand how great of a player he is. I’m happy to spend time with him. He’s a great person and he’s probably if not the best, one of the best players in the league, world right now. I’m really sad I didn’t get a chance to play with him in the World Cup, but next year I’ll end up playing with him.

What was your overall experience like playing for Serbia in last year’s World Cup?

Yong Teck Lim/Getty Images
Yong Teck Lim/Getty Images

NJ: It was amazing. That’s been my childhood dream. Just being there, appreciating it. It means so much for our people. It was unbelievable.

Story originally appeared on HoopsHype