By Johnny Askounis/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Serbian star Nemanja Bjelica coming off the bench for the Golden State Warriors with 5.4 points, 4.3 rebounds, 1.6 assists, and 0.6 steals per contest has helped the team led by Steve Kerr to start the 2021-22 NBA Regular Season at 7-1.
“It is very easy to play in our second unit, with Andre [Iguodala], Otto [Porter Jr.], [Damion] Lee. When I have some minutes to play with Draymond [Green) and Steph [Curry], it is much easier,” explained Bjelica after Friday’s rout of the New Orleans Pelicans, “It’s very fun to play like this.”
Bjelica, 33, was immediately welcomed with open arms by teammates and staff in his fourth different NBA team. His 13 points, seven rebounds, three assists, two steals, and one block helped get the job done versus the struggling Pelicans. He went for 5/7 from the field, including 3/5 triples, part of the impressive team effort resulting in 20/50 three-pointers for the night.
“The coaching staff wants us to shoot the ball, especially the players of the second unit,” he said regarding his best long-range showing of the season, “Sometimes, I feel like we are so open, you want to do so many things, to shoot, to drive or pass. We are a very unselfish team. It’s really fun. Everybody feels good on the court.”
Over the six NBA seasons prior to arriving at San Francisco, the 2015 Turkish Airlines EuroLeague MVP has played for the Minnesota Timberwolves, Sacramento Kings, and Miami Heat. He is up to 392 games played, including his eight in 2021-22.
“I had a lot of fun in my first years at Sacramento. This is a different team. Golden State is one of the best organizations in the league. Last ten years, they are on the top. This team is great for everybody, whoever comes,” he answered a question regarding potentially having the most fun in his new surroundings, “We have just played eight games so far. For me, it’s easier to read the game, to play with those guys.”
The Warriors, still awaiting Klay Thompson to be cleared for his return to action, are in the middle of an eight-game homestand. Up next, the Houston Rockets on Sunday.
Photo Credit: Getty Images