Serbian prospect Nemanja Bjelica is expected to sign a 3 year, $11.7 million dollar deal with the Wolves (first reported by Jon Krawczynski) in the coming days.
Wait, what? Who?
Unless Tanguy Ngombo ever comes over from Qatar to the states (he won’t), Bjelica will be the final player acquired by infamous GM David Kahn to come to the Wolves. In the 2010 NBA draft, Kahn dealt the 23rd and 56th picks (Trevor Booker and Hamady N’Diaye) to Washington for the 30th and 35th picks (Lazar Hayward and Nemanja Bjelica). Now, 5 years later, Bjelica will be arriving to a nearly entirely different roster. In fact, the only remaining player from the 2010-2011 season is Nikola Pekovic.
Nemanja Bjelica (pronounced nay-MON-yah bee-ELL-leets-zah) is a 6’10” versatile forward that could pretty much do it all in Europe. Over the last several years Bjelica has grown from a little known prospect to a European superstar.
This past season for Turkish squad Fenerbahce Ulker, Bjelica posted the best season of his career. In 29 Euroleague (the basketball equivalent of the UEFA Champions league) appearances, Bjelica finished in the top 10 among all players in points, rebounds, steals, free throws made, and free throws made and attempted. Bjelica took home the Euroleague MVP and led Fenerbahce to its first ever Euroleague Final 4.
In Europe, Bjelica could do it all. Besides leading his team in the post, he has a proven jump shot, and an all-around game to match. As the video below proves, Bjelica is no stranger to highlight dunks, chase down blocks, pretty passes, and game winning drives.
Although Bjelica won’t start for the Wolves, he should be able to find around 10-20 minutes a game off the bench, even with the bench unit being log-jammed at the forward positions.
The next chance for Wolves fans to see Bjelica in action will be in September, when he suits up for the Serbian national team at Eurobasket. For now, however, the only way to satisfy your Bjelica craving is with youtube highlight videos and your imagination.