Kings Forward Nemanja Bjelica Recounts His Long Road From Serbia to NBA - NBC Bay Area

Kings Forward Nemanja Bjelica Recounts His Long Road From Serbia to NBA

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    Kings forward Nemanja Bjelica recounts his long road from Serbia to NBA

    Nemanja Bjelica's road to the NBA has been a long one, but he's always had his eyes on the prize. 

    "I didn't know I'd make the NBA, but I was always chasing my dreams," Bjelica said in a video the Kings released Saturday on their Twitter. 

    Bjelica, 30, began his professional career in 2007, playing for the Arkadia Traiskirchen Lions of the Austrian League. He was drafted by the Minnesota Timberwolves three years later with the No. 35 overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft. 

    But, Bjelica didn't come to the NBA until 2015 and became a star in Europe. The forward was named EuroLeague MVP for the 2014-15 season where he averaged a career-high 12.1 points per game. 

    "I was drafted in 2010 and I enjoyed Minnesota for three years. And now in Sacramento, it's like a new chapter," Bjelica said. 

    The Kings signed Bjelica to a three-year, $20.5 million contract on July 20, 2018. His first season in Sacramento was easily his best since joining the NBA. 

    Playing a career-high 77 games (70 starts), Bjelica averaged 9.6 points and 5.8 rebounds per game this season for the Kings. Both were career bests. 

    "I want to show that I can have a bigger role in the NBA," Bjelica said. "With all these young players, sometimes I just need to adjust my role, and I'm good with that.

    "I just wanna play as long as I can, stay healthy and take care of my body every day to stay ready." 

    [RELATED: How Walton could be a good fit as Kings' next coach]

    So far, so good to the start of Bjelica's new chapter in Sacramento.