Draymond Green has played against Nemanja Bjelica for years, but it wasn’t until they played for the same team that the Golden State Warriors veteran realized just how talented the Serbian big man can be.
Green spoke up this week, praising his new teammate and how well he fits into Golden State’s rather complicated offensive. Bjelica is expected to play a significant role for the Warriors in the coming season, making a team that otherwise likes to play small a little bigger.
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Speaking to reporters this week, Green praised the 6-foot-10 Bjelica, who was signed by the Warriors this summer after a season split between the Sacramento Kings and Miami Heat, averaging 6.5 points per game for the year. Bjelica will be one of the tallest players on the Warriors line-up this season, but it was his skillful shot on goal that caught Green’s attention.
“I didn’t even know [Bjelica] could make such games out of dribbling, “Green told reporters on NBC Sports Bay Area on October 12th. “I had no idea about König.”
“Then I spent a bit of time with him and he was like, ‘Yeah, man, when I was abroad and won the MVP of the EuroLeague, that was me. I made plays, I shot the ball … I’ll do that, ”said Green. “I thought, ‘I didn’t know you could do pieces like that.’ ”
Green said Bjelica’s ability to drive will be a huge asset if the teams close on him and allow him to play games. The former Serbian national star has shown heavy shooting contact over the course of his career, scoring just over 38% of his threesomes. That could fit well into the Warriors’ offensive, which involves a lot of movement and a need for strong marksmen, Green said.
Bjelica isn’t the only new signing expected to make a prominent place in the rotation. NBC Sports Bay Area’s Monte Poole wrote that Otto Porter Jr. has a chance to be the X-Factor for the Warriors this season – but only if he can stay healthy. Porter missed significant parts over the past two seasons as he struggled with foot and back injuries.
“If Otto can keep building his stamina and health – it’s been a tough couple of years for him, so the most important thing is to stay healthy – the guy knows how to play and shoots hell out of the ball,” said Warriors- Head Coach Steve Kerr, on NBC Sports Bay Area.
As Poole noted, Porter was one of the pre-season’s shining stars, scoring 15 points in just 19 minutes against the Denver Nuggets, hitting 5-of-7 shots from the field and 4-of-6 shots from behind the bow . In another fight against the Portland Trail Blazers, Porter scored 19 points in 18 minutes.
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