Nemanja Bjelica (Serbian Cyrillic: Немања Бјелица, pronounced [němaɲa bjělitsa]; born 9 May 1988) is a Serbian professional basketball player for the Golden State Warriors of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He also represents the senior Serbian national basketball team internationally. Bjelica was an All-Euroleague First Team selection as well as the Euroleague MVP in 2015. Bjelica started his NBA career as a 27-year-old rookie which he signed in 2015 and previously played for the Minnesota Timberwolves for three seasons before signing with the Sacramento Kings in 2018 off-season.
|No. 8 – Golden State Warriors|
|Born||9 May 1988|
Belgrade, SR Serbia, Yugoslavia
|Listed height||6 ft 10 in (2.08 m)|
|Listed weight||234 lb (106 kg)|
|NBA draft||2010 / Round: 2 / Pick: 35th overall|
|Selected by the Washington Wizards|
|2021–present||Golden State Warriors|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Stats at NBA.com|
|Stats at Basketball-Reference.com|
Arkadia Traiskirchen (2007–2008)Edit
Bjelica began playing basketball at Aca Janjić basketball school, before joining the youth selections of KK Partizan. He began his professional career in the 2007–08 season with the Arkadia Traiskirchen Lions of the Austrian League, averaging 8.5 points in 26 games.
Crvena zvezda (2008–2010)Edit
After one season abroad, he returned to the Serbian team Crvena zvezda, and spent two successful seasons there, under head coach Svetislav Pešić. During the 2008–09 season, he made breakthroughs, and earned a place in the first lineup. He was particularly noted for his performance during the EuroCup, for his outside shooting. Later in his career, Bjelica cited coach Pešić as one of the main reasons for his improvement as a player. Coach Pešić trusted Bjelica with the ball, and gave the 6"10 Bjelica a primary ball handler role on several occasions, which helped to develop Bjelica as a play-maker.
Saski Baskonia (2010–2013)Edit
In August 2010, Bjelica signed a five-year contract with Spanish club Saski Baskonia. In his first season with the club, he didn't get much playing time, averaging only 9 minutes played per game. In his second season with Baskonia, he averaged 4.8 points per game, on 56% shooting from the field, and 47% shooting from 3 point range, three in 13 minutes played per game. His third and last season with the club was the most successful, as he played in 26 games, with the averages of 9.9 points, 4.8 rebounds, 1.3 assists, and 1 steal per game, on 46% shooting from the field.
Fenerbahçe Ülker (2013–2015)Edit
On 22 July 2013, Bjelica signed a three-year deal with the Turkish team Fenerbahçe Ülker, which was led by one of Europe's great coaches, Željko Obradović. He cited Obradović as the main reason why he didn't go to the NBA instead. In the 2013–14 season, he already became one of the key Fenerbahçe Ülker players, averaging all career-highs of 10.4 points, 6.1 rebounds, 2.2 assists, and 1.6 steals per game, over 24 EuroLeague games.
The following season, Bjelica's game saw its most improvement and consistency. On 30 March 2015, he was named the EuroLeague MVP of the Month for March, his first such monthly award in his career. Over 4 games played in March, he averaged 15 points, 9 rebounds, 3 assists, and 1 block per game. In May 2015, he was chosen to the All-EuroLeague First Team, for his performances over the season. Eventually, Bjelica was named the EuroLeague MVP of the season. Fenerbahçe also advanced to the EuroLeague Final Four for the first time in the team's history. On 15 May 2015, however, they lost in the semifinal game to Real Madrid, by a score of 87–96. Eventually, Fenerbahçe finished in 4th place, after losing in the third-place game to CSKA Moscow, by a score of 80–86. Bjelica had his best season since coming to the club, averaging a career-high 12.1 points, 8.5 rebounds, 1.9 assists, and 1.3 steals per game. Fenerbahçe, however, finished the season without winning any trophy, after also losing in the semi-final series of the Turkish League championship, to the eventual league champions Pınar Karşıyaka.
Minnesota Timberwolves (2015–2018)Edit
On 14 July 2015, Bjelica signed with the Minnesota Timberwolves. He made his debut for the Timberwolves in their season opener on 28 October 2015, recording eight points and five rebounds in a 112–111 win over the Los Angeles Lakers. On 7 November 2015, he had a season-best game with 17 points, 11 rebounds, five assists, one steal and one block against the Chicago Bulls. On 7 April 2016, he scored a season-high 18 points against the Sacramento Kings. Four days later, he recorded 11 points and a season-high 14 rebounds against the Houston Rockets.
On 13 November 2016, Bjelica made his first career start and scored a career-high 24 points in a 125–99 win over the Los Angeles Lakers. On 16 March 2017, he was ruled out for the rest of the 2016–17 season with a left foot injury. He underwent surgery five days later to repair a fractured navicular bone in his left foot.
Bjelica missed 15 games spanning November and December of the 2017–18 season with a sprained left foot. On 8 March 2018, he scored a career-high 30 points on 11-for-16 shooting, including 6 for 9 from 3-point range, in a 117–109 loss to the Boston Celtics. He also had 12 rebounds to record his first 20–10 game in the NBA.
Sacramento Kings (2018–2021)Edit
On 21 July 2018, just days after backing out of a deal with the Philadelphia 76ers with the intention of returning to Europe, Bjelica signed a three-year, $20.5 million contract with the Sacramento Kings. In his first season with the club, Bjelica averaged 9.6 points, 5.8 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game.
The 2019–20 NBA season was the best season Bjelica had since coming to the NBA, as he averaged 11.5 points, 6.4 rebounds and 2.8 assists over 72 games. The season was suspended in March as a result of COVID-19 pandemic and Sacramento Kings were invited for 22-team 2020 NBA Bubble. Eventually, they did not manage to qualify for the playoffs and finished the season with 31–41 record.
Miami Heat (2021)Edit
Golden State Warriors (2021–present)Edit
National team careerEdit
Bjelica played with the senior Serbian national basketball team that won the silver medal at the EuroBasket 2009. He was also a member of the Serbian national team at the 2010 FIBA World Championship, where Serbia was defeated 99-88 by Lithuania in the game for the bronze medal, after they had earlier lost to hosts, Turkey, in a highly controversial semifinals finish. He was also capped for the national team of Serbia at the EuroBasket 2011, in Lithuania, where Serbia finished eighth.
During EuroBasket 2013 in Slovenia, Bjelica became one of the veterans of a very young and incomplete Serbia squad, leading the team alongside captain Nenad Krstić and Nemanja Nedović. Serbia was eventually swept by Spain in the quarterfinals, but the team showed some good performances, particularly against Lithuania and France. During the tournament, he averaged 10 points, 7 rebounds, and 1.9 assists per game, on 54% shooting from the field.
He was also a member of the Serbian national basketball team that won the silver medal at the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup under head coach Aleksandar Đorđević. Although his three-point shooting form wasn't impressive during the tournament, he was still one of the most important players of the team, filling all sorts of roles with his handling, passing, rebounding, and scoring. He ended the tournament with averages of 11.9 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 2.8 assists per game.
He was also a member of the team that represented Serbia at the EuroBasket 2015. In Serbia's opening game, an 80–70 win against Spain, he was Serbia's key player, posting 24 points, 10 rebounds, and 4 assists. The following day, he made a game-winning shot against Germany. In the last match of the group phase, he scored 19 points, grabbed 8 rebounds, and had 4 assists against Italy. Serbia dominated in the tournament's toughest group, Group B, with a 5–0 record, and then eliminated Finland and the Czech Republic in the round of 16 and quarterfinal games, respectively. However, they were stopped in the semifinal game by Lithuania, by a score of 67–64, and eventually lost to the host team, France, in the bronze-medal game, by a score of 81–68. Being one of the team's leaders, along with Miloš Teodosić and Miroslav Raduljica, Bjelica averaged 13.9 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 2.7 assists per game, on 56.1% shooting from the field and 37.5% shooting from behind the three-point line.
At the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup, the national team of Serbia was dubbed as favorite to win the trophy, but was eventually upset in the quarterfinals by Argentina. With wins over the United States and Czech Republic, it finished in fifth place. Bjelica's statistics suggest he was the third-best player on the team behind Bogdanović and Jokić, averaging 10.7 points, 4.7 rebounds and 2.7 assists over 7 games, while shooting 42.9% from the field.
Awards and accomplishmentsEdit
- 2014–15 EuroLeague Final Four with Fenerbahçe
- Turkish Basketball League: 2013–14
- Turkish President's Cup: 2013
|GP||Games played||GS||Games started||MPG||Minutes per game|
|FG%||Field-goal percentage||3P%||3-point field-goal percentage||FT%||Free-throw percentage|
|RPG||Rebounds per game||APG||Assists per game||SPG||Steals per game|
|BPG||Blocks per game||PPG||Points per game||PIR||Performance Index Rating|
- "Bjelica za MONDO: Imam glavu plejmejkera". mondo.rs (in Serbian). 20 November 2008. Retrieved 27 December 2018.
- "Nemanja Bjelica". basketballliga.at (in German). Retrieved 27 December 2018.
- "NEMANJA BJELICA ZA TELEGRAF: Da nije bilo Pešića, ostao bih prosečno krilo (VIDEO)". Telegraf.rs (in Serbian). 6 January 2013. Retrieved 14 July 2015.
- "Minnesota Acquires Draft Rights to Lazar Hayward". NBA.com. 25 June 2010. Retrieved 17 October 2010.
- "Caja Laboral lands Nemanja Bjelica". Euroleague.net. 2 August 2010. Retrieved 18 May 2015.
- "Fenerbahce will sign Nemanja Bjelica to a three-year deal". Sportando.net. Retrieved 23 July 2013.
- "Bjelica kod Obradovića u Feneru". b92.net (in Serbian). Retrieved 23 July 2013.
- Preradović, V. "Bjelica: Željko Obradović i ja, nestvarno!". novosti.rs (in Serbian) (23 July 2013). Retrieved 30 April 2015.
- "bwin MVP for March: Nemanja Bjelica, Fenerbahce Ulker Istanbul". euroleague.net. Retrieved 30 April 2015.
- "All-Euroleague First and Second Teams announced". euroleague.net. Retrieved 8 May 2015.
- "2014-15 bwin MVP: Nemanja Bjelica, Fenerbahce Ulker Istanbul". euroleague.net. 14 May 2015. Retrieved 14 May 2015.
- "Fenerbahce for the first time in the Final Four". eurohoops.net. 20 April 2015. Archived from the original on 18 May 2015. Retrieved 15 May 2015.
- "Real Madrid heads to third straight final after beating Fenerbahce". euroleague.net. 15 May 2015. Retrieved 15 May 2015.
- "CSKA Moscow beats Fenerbahce in third-place game". euroleague.net. 17 May 2015. Retrieved 18 May 2015.
- "Fenerbahce opts out of Nemanja Bjelica's contract". sportando.com. 1 July 2015. Retrieved 1 July 2015.
- "Timberwolves Sign Reigning Euroleague Most Valuable Player Nemanja Bjelica". NBA.com. 14 July 2015. Retrieved 14 July 2015.
- "Wolves edge Lakers 112-111 in first game since Flip's death". NBA.com. 28 October 2015. Archived from the original on 26 October 2015. Retrieved 29 October 2015.
- "Nemanja Bjelica 2015-16 Game Log". Basketball-Reference.com. Retrieved 14 November 2016.
- "Wiggins scores 47 to lead Timberwolves over Lakers, 125-99". ESPN.com. 13 November 2016. Retrieved 14 November 2016.
- "NEMANJA BJELICA INJURY UPDATE". NBA.com. 16 March 2017. Retrieved 16 March 2017.
- "NEMANJA BJELICA INJURY UPDATE". NBA.com. 21 March 2017. Retrieved 21 March 2017.
- "Timberwolves beat Lakers 121-104 for first Christmas win". ESPN.com. 25 December 2017. Retrieved 26 December 2017.
- "Irving returns to carry Celtics past Timberwolves 117-109". ESPN.com. 8 March 2018. Retrieved 8 March 2018.
- "Kings Sign Nemanja Bjelica". NBA.com. 21 July 2018. Retrieved 21 July 2018.
- "Nemanja Bjelica staying in the U.S. after all, reaches deal with Kings". ESPN.com. 21 July 2018. Retrieved 21 July 2018.
- "Nemanja Bjelica won't sign with 76ers, plans to stay in Europe". ESPN.com. 17 July 2018. Retrieved 21 July 2018. On 9 December 2019, Bjelica drilled a buzzer beating 3-pointer to lift the Kings to a road win at the Houston Rockets, 119-118. On 13 January 2020, he set career highs with 34 points and 8 3-pointers in a 114-112 loss to the Orlando Magic.
- "HEAT Acquire Nemanja Bjelica". NBA.com. 25 March 2021.
- "Warriors Sign Free Agent Forward Nemanja Bjelica". NBA.com. 6 August 2021.
- "AMBITIOUS SERBIA UNVEIL POWERFUL 12-MAN SQUAD". eurobasket2015.org. 2 September 2015. Archived from the original on 5 September 2015. Retrieved 3 September 2015.
- "LITHUANIA END SERBIAN STREAK, RETURN TO FINAL". eurobasket2015.org. Archived from the original on 19 September 2015. Retrieved 20 September 2015.
- "FRANCE REWARD HOME SUPPORT WITH BRONZE". eurobasket2015.org. 20 September 2015. Archived from the original on 22 September 2015. Retrieved 20 September 2015.
- "Player profile: Nemanja Bjelica". eurobasket2015.org. FIBA Europe. Retrieved 20 September 2015.
- Curkovic, Igor (28 August 2019). "FIBA Basketball World Cup Power Rankings, Volume 3". fiba.basketball. Retrieved 14 September 2019.
- "Argentina upsets Olympic silver medalist Serbia in FIBA World Cup quarterfinals". nbcsports.com. 10 September 2019. Retrieved 14 September 2019.
- "Serbia defeats USA in FIBA World Cup consolation round play". nba.com. 12 September 2019. Retrieved 14 September 2019.
- T., P. (14 September 2019). "Bogdanović ponovo briljirao – Srbiji peto mesto u Kini" (in Serbian). Retrieved 14 September 2019.
- "SEDAM KRATKIH PITANJA ZA NEMANJU BJELICU".
- "Crkveno venčanje Mirjane i Nemanje Bjelice". novosti.rs (in Serbian). 22 June 2012. Retrieved 27 January 2015.
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