Nemanja Bjelica is a Serbian professional basketball player. As of September 2021, he plays power forward for the Golden State Warriors in the NBA. Wearing jersey No.8, Bjelica was drafted into the NBA in 2010. Other NBA teams he has played for include the Minnesota Timberwolves, the Sacramento Kings, and Miami Heat. He was named as Serbian Player of the Year in 2015.
Bjelica was born Nemanja Bjelica on May 9, 1988 in Belgrade, SR Serbia, Yugoslavia. He started playing basketball at a young age. He grew up in the New Belgrade Blocks, a planned community within the city of Belgrade. A youth, he started playing for the Aca Janjic basketball school. He later joined the youth selections for the KK Patrizan, which is a professional basketball club in the city of Belgrade. He started playing professionally in the 2007-2008 season when he was taken on by the Austrian League team, the Arkadia Traiskirchen Lions. While with them, he averaged 8.5 points a game. He played 26 games.
|Team||Golden State Warriors|
|Height / weight||2.06 m / 106 kg|
|Born||9 May 1988|
|Nickname||Professor Big Shots|
|GSW||2021 - present|
|Sacramento Kings||2018 - 2021|
|Minnesota Timberwolves||2015 - 2018|
After one year playing in the Austrian League, he returned to Serbia and was coached by Svetislav Pesic of the Crvena Zvezda. Bjelica grew as a player during the time he spent with the team. Bjelica also played in the EuroCup during this time and there he was noticed for his outside shooting. He would later site Pesic as one of the most influential people in his playing career. Pesic helped Bjelica hone his game by trusting him with the ball often.
He was drafted in the NBA during the 2010 draft. Bjelica was picked by the Washington Wizards. He was their 35th overall pick. The draft rights were then traded by the Wizards to the Minnesota Timberwolves. From 2010 to 2013, he was also under contract with the Spanish team, Saski Baskonia. He didn’t get much play time with the club during the first season. He would get more play for his second and third seasons with them.
Bjelica then went on to sign with the Fenerbache Ulker. He signed a three-year deal wit them and while there, he played under coach Zeljko Obradovic, considered one of the best basketball coaches in Europe. He scored career highs while with the team. Bjelica consistently improved and in 2015, he was named the Serbian Player of the Year as well as the All-European Forward of the Year. He was also named to the All-European First Team.
From 2015 to 2018, Bjelica played for the Minnesota Timberwolves. He debuted with the team on October 2015. He scored a career high of 24 points in November 2016 in a game against the LA Lakers. In 2018, he signed a three-year deal with the Sacramento Kings. He was traded to Miami Heat in March 2021. On August 2021, he signed a contract with the Golden State Warriors.
Professional Career Highlights and Awards
- 2010, All-Serbian League First Team
- 2013, Turkish Presidential Cup
- 2014, Turkish League Champion
- 2015, EuroLeague MVP for March
- 2015, All-EuroLeage First Team
- 2015, All European Forward of theYear
- 2015, Serbian Player of the Year
- 2007–2008 - Traiskirchen Lions
- 2008–2010 - Crvena zvezda
- 2010–2013 - Saski Baskonia
- 2013–2015 - Fenerbahçe
- 2015–2018 - Minnesota Timberwolves
- 2018–2021 - Sacramento Kings
- 2021 - Miami Heat
- 2021–present - Golden State Warriors