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Nemanja Bjelica - PF, 6'10, 240
Minnesota Timberwolves - Drafted 35th overall in 2010
       Date of birth: 05/09/1988
       Country: Serbia
     Drafted (NBA): 35th pick, 2010
     Out of: Crvena Zvezda (Serbia)
  NBA Experience: 1 years
  Hand: Right

From blog:


   An Unnecessarily Exhaustive Guide To The Euroleague Final Eight
2011-03-24

Unfortunately, Sow is likely out for the remainder of the season after suffering a pulmonary embolism of his own. This may mean an expanded role for Pneumonia Bjelica, the recent Timberwolves draft pick, but this is not necessarily a good thing. Bjelica is still all about hype and not about production; on the Euroleague season thus far, he is averaging 1.2 points, 1.7 rebounds and 2.1 fouls per game, shooting 25% from the floor. He remains overmatched at Europe's highest levels, and turns 23 in six weeks time. You'd think that if he really were that, the next Kukoc would be further along by now. (There is also a slim chance that Sow's illness may mean some minutes for draft prospect, Dejan Musli. However, it's very unlikely. Musli has played all of 2 Euroleague minutes all season, and has somehow recorded 5 fouls in that time. That's not a player you can trust in quarter final action.)

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   Sham's 2010 NBA Draft Night Recap, Part 2
2010-06-27

Pick 35: As Silver again slinks to the podium like a creepy lizard, the crowd switches up the chant to something infinitely funnier; "SE-XY-SIL-VER" *clap* *clap* *clap-clap-clap*. Adam is again reeling, and this time is unable to recover his composure. He savages Nemanja Bjelica's name mercilessly, resulting in a puerile concoction that resembled something like Pneumonia Beeyelleetsa. And because of Sexy Silver's misstep, that poor man will now always be associated with abnormal fluid build-up and inflammation in the alveolar. Bad times, Sexy.

As evidenced in part 1, I am not high on Nemanja Bjelica. It is not a baseless opinion; because of international commitments and the fact that he played for my favourite non-NBA team last year (Crvena Zvezda), I've seen Bjelica about 25 times. And he is not a young Toni Kukoc, not matter how much you hear that ienvitable comparison batted around. (Well, he sort of is, but only because Toni Kukoc is now 41.) Bjelica is instead more like a young Robbie Hummel, and no one gets excited about Robbie Hummel. He's a better pick than Loukas Mavrokefalidis was, and is acceptable at #35, but it is my opinion that you should temper your enthusiasm.



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   Sham's 2010 NBA Draft Night Recap, Part 1
2010-06-27

Pick 20: The San Antonio Spurs pick next, and Woj chimes in with the news that, were he healthy, Nemanja Bjelica would be their pick. Bjelica is one of the most overrated players in the draft. #20 is about 30 places too high. And besides, he just signed with Benetton Treviso for three years. (Although since the Spurs are renowned for their draft-and-stash tendencies, that probably doesn't matter.)

More teams should play the long game with international players, but they don't. While first rounders contracts are bound by the terms of the rookie salary scale, the rules states that if a player does not sign in the NBA for over three years after being drafted in the first round, then they are no longer bound by the scale. Everyone knows this rule, but no one does anything about it, which is why we see players like Tiago Splitter and Nikola Pekovic fall so far every year. But the Spurs, who picked Splitter, have the self-confidence to work with the rule in mind. Most executives are on short term contracts, which is why they make short sighted moves; they're trying to keep their jobs. But R.C. Buford of the Spurs surely knows of his job security, and drafts accordingly. And it's for that reason, plus a healthy dollop of common sense, that the Spurs are able to draft so well. It's a simple formula that so few others follow.

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   An Unnecessarily Exhaustive Guide To The NBA Prospects Of The Unsigned NBA Draft Picks
2011-04-02

Nemanja Bjelica (35th pick, 2010)

Like so many others, Bjelica was covered in the recent Euroleague round-up. It wasn't great news.

[Pape] Sow is likely out for the remainder of the season after suffering a pulmonary embolism of his own. This may mean an expanded role for Pneumonia Bjelica, the recent Timberwolves draft pick, but this is not necessarily a good thing. Bjelica is still all about hype and not about production; on the Euroleague season thus far, he is averaging 1.2 points, 1.7 rebounds and 2.1 fouls per game, shooting 25% from the floor. He remains overmatched at Europe's highest levels, and turns 23 in six weeks time. You'd think that if he really were that, the next Kukoc would be further along by now.


As it happens, Bjelica is injured as well, and missed the whole quarter final series, which Caja Laboral lost 3-1.

For all the talk of Bjelica's ball handling and passing abilities in a 6'10 point forward's frame, he sure spends a lot of his time committing cheap bump fouls and standing in the corner. His development is far short of his reputation at this moment; being at Caja Laboral gives him a great opportunity at a prestigious place in which to learn and develop, yet he's a long way from being learned and developed. Indeed, the progress has stagnated for a couple of years now. However, I can't help but feel that he'll make it to the NBA one day anyway.

Chances of making the NBA expressed as an arbitrary percentage: 40%

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   Where Are They Now, 2010; Part 7
2010-01-07

- Nemanja Bjelica

I've tried not to mention too many upcoming draft prospects in this list; if I was going to do them all, I would have spent a good 14,000 words or so declaring my undying love for Dogus Balbay already. But Nemanja Bjelica is one that I will cover, mainly because I don't quite get it.

On the season, Bjelica is averaging 5.8 points, 4.1 rebounds, 3.1 fouls and 1.6 assists per game in the Adriatic League for Crvena Zvezda, alongside 6.0 points, 7.6 rebounds, 2.4 fouls and 1.2 assists in the Eurocup. I have seen two Eurocup games of his this season, as well as multiple times in international competition for Serbia. And either I'm only catching him on bad dayys, or this guy is not the next Toni Kukoc after all. For all his supposed ball handling skills in a 6'10 frame, Bjelica never actually does any ball handling; more than anything, there's lots of standing in the corner, and very few touches. He defers the ballhandling to the better ballhandlers, which is kind of noble, yet also worrisome, because there always are some. He's not a very good shooter, is slender, and is offensively awkward. Can't say I see the intrigue here, really. Not until he refines his skill to the point that he can actually be a mismatch.

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