Nemanja Bjelica

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.

Nemanja Bjelica
Nemanja Bjelica.jpg
Bjelica with the Serbia in 2015
No. 8 – Golden State Warriors
PositionPower forward
LeagueNBA
Personal information
Born (1988-05-09) 9 May 1988 (age 33)
Belgrade, SR Serbia, Yugoslavia
NationalitySerbian
Listed height6 ft 10 in (2.08 m)
Listed weight234 lb (106 kg)
Career information
NBA draft2010 / Round: 2 / Pick: 35th overall
Selected by the Washington Wizards
Playing career2007–present
Career history
2007–2008Traiskirchen Lions
2008–2010Crvena zvezda
2010–2013Saski Baskonia
2013–2015Fenerbahçe
20152018Minnesota Timberwolves
20182021Sacramento Kings
2021Miami Heat
2021–presentGolden State Warriors
Career highlights and awards
Stats Edit this at Wikidata at NBA.com
Stats Edit this at Wikidata at Basketball-Reference.com

Professional careerEdit

 
Bjelica playing for Red Star.

Arkadia Traiskirchen (2007–2008)Edit

Bjelica began playing basketball at Aca Janjić basketball school, before joining the youth selections of KK Partizan.[1] 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.[2]

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.[3] 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.

Bjelica was drafted by the Washington Wizards with the 35th pick of the 2010 NBA draft. His draft rights were then traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves.[4]

Saski Baskonia (2010–2013)Edit

In August 2010, Bjelica signed a five-year contract with Spanish club Saski Baskonia.[5] 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.[6][7] He cited Obradović as the main reason why he didn't go to the NBA instead.[8] 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.[9] In May 2015, he was chosen to the All-EuroLeague First Team, for his performances over the season.[10] Eventually, Bjelica was named the EuroLeague MVP of the season.[11] Fenerbahçe also advanced to the EuroLeague Final Four for the first time in the team's history.[12] On 15 May 2015, however, they lost in the semifinal game to Real Madrid, by a score of 87–96.[13] Eventually, Fenerbahçe finished in 4th place, after losing in the third-place game to CSKA Moscow, by a score of 80–86.[14] 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.

On 1 July 2015, Bjelica opted out of his contract with Fenerbahçe in order to play in the NBA.[15]

Minnesota Timberwolves (2015–2018)Edit

On 14 July 2015, Bjelica signed with the Minnesota Timberwolves.[16] 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.[17] 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.[18]

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.[19] On 16 March 2017, he was ruled out for the rest of the 2016–17 season with a left foot injury.[20] He underwent surgery five days later to repair a fractured navicular bone in his left foot.[21]

Bjelica missed 15 games spanning November and December of the 2017–18 season with a sprained left foot.[22] 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.[23]

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.[24][25][26] 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

On 25 March 2021, Bjelica was traded to the Miami Heat in exchange for Maurice Harkless and Chris Silva.[27]

Golden State Warriors (2021–present)Edit

On August 6, 2021, Bjelica signed with the Golden State Warriors.[28]

National team careerEdit

 
Bjelica has won gold medal at the 2009 Summer Universiade, which was held in Belgrade.

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.[29] 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,[30] and eventually lost to the host team, France, in the bronze-medal game, by a score of 81–68.[31] 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.[32]

At the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup, the national team of Serbia was dubbed as favorite to win the trophy,[33] but was eventually upset in the quarterfinals by Argentina.[34] With wins over the United States and Czech Republic, it finished in fifth place.[35][36] 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.

Personal lifeEdit

Bjelica was brought up in the New Belgrade Blocks.[37] He married in June 2012 and has a daughter.[38]

Awards and accomplishmentsEdit

Club
Individual

Career statisticsEdit

Legend
  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
 Bold  Career high

NBAEdit

Regular seasonEdit

Year Team GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
2015–16 Minnesota 60 0 17.9 .468 .384 .727 3.5 1.4 .4 .4 5.1
2016–17 Minnesota 65 1 18.3 .424 .316 .738 3.8 1.2 .6 .3 6.2
2017–18 Minnesota 67 21 20.5 .461 .415 .800 4.1 1.3 .7 .2 6.8
2018–19 Sacramento 77 70 23.2 .479 .401 .761 5.8 1.9 .7 .7 9.6
2019–20 Sacramento 72 67 27.9 .481 .419 .821 6.4 2.8 .9 .6 11.5
2020–21 Sacramento 26 1 16.9 .460 .293 .762 3.8 1.9 .3 .1 7.2
Miami 11 2 14.2 .435 .370 .556 2.5 1.8 .6 .3 5.0
Career 378 162 21.2 .465 .387 .765 4.6 1.8 .7 .4 7.9

PlayoffsEdit

Year Team GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
2018 Minnesota 5 0 9.4 .438 .517 .714 3.0 .6 .6 .0 4.6
2021 Miami 2 0 15.0 .455 .500 .667 2.5 1.0 1.0 .5 9.0
Career 7 0 11.0 .444 .533 .692 2.9 .7 .7 .1 5.9

EuroLeagueEdit

Year Team GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG PIR
2010–11 Baskonia 13 2 9.0 .250 .222 .500 1.7 .5 .2 .0 1.2 0.5
2011–12 10 5 13.9 .563 .474 .750 2.1 1.0 1.3 .3 4.8 6.2
2012–13 26 9 23.1 .459 .310 .741 4.8 1.3 1.0 .3 9.9 10.1
2013–14 Fenerbahçe 24 18 25.1 .474 .416 .846 6.1 2.2 1.6 .4 10.4 13.6
2014–15 29 20 27.8 .500 .351 .684 8.5 1.9 1.3 .7 12.1 18.3
Career 102 54 22.2 .476 .358 .721 5.5 1.6 1.0 .4 9.0 11.6

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Bjelica za MONDO: Imam glavu plejmejkera". mondo.rs (in Serbian). 20 November 2008. Retrieved 27 December 2018.
  2. ^ "Nemanja Bjelica". basketballliga.at (in German). Retrieved 27 December 2018.
  3. ^ "NEMANJA BJELICA ZA TELEGRAF: Da nije bilo Pešića, ostao bih prosečno krilo (VIDEO)". Telegraf.rs (in Serbian). 6 January 2013. Retrieved 14 July 2015.
  4. ^ "Minnesota Acquires Draft Rights to Lazar Hayward". NBA.com. 25 June 2010. Retrieved 17 October 2010.
  5. ^ "Caja Laboral lands Nemanja Bjelica". Euroleague.net. 2 August 2010. Retrieved 18 May 2015.
  6. ^ "Fenerbahce will sign Nemanja Bjelica to a three-year deal". Sportando.net. Retrieved 23 July 2013.
  7. ^ "Bjelica kod Obradovića u Feneru". b92.net (in Serbian). Retrieved 23 July 2013.
  8. ^ Preradović, V. "Bjelica: Željko Obradović i ja, nestvarno!". novosti.rs (in Serbian) (23 July 2013). Retrieved 30 April 2015.
  9. ^ "bwin MVP for March: Nemanja Bjelica, Fenerbahce Ulker Istanbul". euroleague.net. Retrieved 30 April 2015.
  10. ^ "All-Euroleague First and Second Teams announced". euroleague.net. Retrieved 8 May 2015.
  11. ^ "2014-15 bwin MVP: Nemanja Bjelica, Fenerbahce Ulker Istanbul". euroleague.net. 14 May 2015. Retrieved 14 May 2015.
  12. ^ "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.
  13. ^ "Real Madrid heads to third straight final after beating Fenerbahce". euroleague.net. 15 May 2015. Retrieved 15 May 2015.
  14. ^ "CSKA Moscow beats Fenerbahce in third-place game". euroleague.net. 17 May 2015. Retrieved 18 May 2015.
  15. ^ "Fenerbahce opts out of Nemanja Bjelica's contract". sportando.com. 1 July 2015. Retrieved 1 July 2015.
  16. ^ "Timberwolves Sign Reigning Euroleague Most Valuable Player Nemanja Bjelica". NBA.com. 14 July 2015. Retrieved 14 July 2015.
  17. ^ "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.
  18. ^ "Nemanja Bjelica 2015-16 Game Log". Basketball-Reference.com. Retrieved 14 November 2016.
  19. ^ "Wiggins scores 47 to lead Timberwolves over Lakers, 125-99". ESPN.com. 13 November 2016. Retrieved 14 November 2016.
  20. ^ "NEMANJA BJELICA INJURY UPDATE". NBA.com. 16 March 2017. Retrieved 16 March 2017.
  21. ^ "NEMANJA BJELICA INJURY UPDATE". NBA.com. 21 March 2017. Retrieved 21 March 2017.
  22. ^ "Timberwolves beat Lakers 121-104 for first Christmas win". ESPN.com. 25 December 2017. Retrieved 26 December 2017.
  23. ^ "Irving returns to carry Celtics past Timberwolves 117-109". ESPN.com. 8 March 2018. Retrieved 8 March 2018.
  24. ^ "Kings Sign Nemanja Bjelica". NBA.com. 21 July 2018. Retrieved 21 July 2018.
  25. ^ "Nemanja Bjelica staying in the U.S. after all, reaches deal with Kings". ESPN.com. 21 July 2018. Retrieved 21 July 2018.
  26. ^ "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.
  27. ^ "HEAT Acquire Nemanja Bjelica". NBA.com. 25 March 2021.
  28. ^ "Warriors Sign Free Agent Forward Nemanja Bjelica". NBA.com. 6 August 2021.
  29. ^ "AMBITIOUS SERBIA UNVEIL POWERFUL 12-MAN SQUAD". eurobasket2015.org. 2 September 2015. Archived from the original on 5 September 2015. Retrieved 3 September 2015.
  30. ^ "LITHUANIA END SERBIAN STREAK, RETURN TO FINAL". eurobasket2015.org. Archived from the original on 19 September 2015. Retrieved 20 September 2015.
  31. ^ "FRANCE REWARD HOME SUPPORT WITH BRONZE". eurobasket2015.org. 20 September 2015. Archived from the original on 22 September 2015. Retrieved 20 September 2015.
  32. ^ "Player profile: Nemanja Bjelica". eurobasket2015.org. FIBA Europe. Retrieved 20 September 2015.
  33. ^ Curkovic, Igor (28 August 2019). "FIBA Basketball World Cup Power Rankings, Volume 3". fiba.basketball. Retrieved 14 September 2019.
  34. ^ "Argentina upsets Olympic silver medalist Serbia in FIBA World Cup quarterfinals". nbcsports.com. 10 September 2019. Retrieved 14 September 2019.
  35. ^ "Serbia defeats USA in FIBA World Cup consolation round play". nba.com. 12 September 2019. Retrieved 14 September 2019.
  36. ^ T., P. (14 September 2019). "Bogdanović ponovo briljirao – Srbiji peto mesto u Kini" (in Serbian). Retrieved 14 September 2019.
  37. ^ "SEDAM KRATKIH PITANJA ZA NEMANJU BJELICU".
  38. ^ "Crkveno venčanje Mirjane i Nemanje Bjelice". novosti.rs (in Serbian). 22 June 2012. Retrieved 27 January 2015.

External linksEdit