Break glass in case of emergency.
Mired in a 9 sport shedding streak and watching the sport slip away in Detroit, Kings coach Luke Walton regarded over at his bench and referred to as on seldom used Nemanja Bjelica to present his group a raise.
Bjelica, who began 137 video games during the last two seasons for Sacramento, hadn’t performed in three video games as a wholesome scratch. Coming into Friday night time, he had seen motion in simply 15 video games this season as the main focus has shifted to Marvin Bagley and Harrison Barnes at energy ahead.
The veteran regarded like he hadn’t missed a beat and Walton allowed him to complete out the fourth quarter because the Kings battled again for the 110-107 win.
“He stays prepared, that’s the largest factor,” Bagley stated. “It doesn’t matter what occurs, what number of video games he didn’t play in or minutes he didn’t play, he got here in and did what he needed to do to assist us win or assist us win. That’s all you possibly can ask for.”
Bjelica performed at Bagley’s expense, however while you’ve misplaced as many video games because the Kings had, you throw all of that out the window. Bagley was excited to interrupt the shedding streak like everybody else, even when he needed to watch from the sidelines down the stretch.
Walton’s squad struggled with loads of points over their newest downturn, however one of many predominant substances that have been lacking was simply fundamental basketball IQ. It’s one thing that each De’Aaron Fox and Harrison Barnes spoke on following the group’s loss to the Knicks on Thursday.
Whereas Bjelica isn’t essentially the most athletic participant on the roster, he has performed the sport professionally since he was extraordinarily younger in Europe. He even gained a EuroLeague MVP earlier than coming to the NBA.
“Bjeli is the last word skilled, the last word teammate,” Richaun Holmes stated. “He’s at all times engaged, at all times prepared when his title known as and he’s a terrific basketball participant, a excessive IQ participant. So he comes within the sport, he is aware of the place we’d like him, he is aware of what we’d like him to do and he’s trying to go on the market and do his job.”
He is a participant that understands the sport at a excessive stage and at 32-years-old, he nonetheless has some basketball left in him.
Bjelica performed a complete of 12 minutes and 6 seconds within the sport, with all however six seconds coming within the remaining interval. He shot 3-of-4 from the sphere to complete with eight factors and he chipped in three assists, 4 rebounds and an help.
“I can’t say sufficient about how skilled he’s and the way a lot of an excellent teammate he’s,” Holmes added. “To return in chilly within the fourth and make profitable performs for us, that simply speaks to the kind of teammate he’s.”
In a sport the place the Kings gained by simply three factors, Bjelica ran a plus eight on the night time. He made strong defensive performs, grabbed well timed rebounds and regardless of sitting out half of the video games this season for Sacramento, the group ran the offense by him down the stretch.
“I used to be actually happy with Bjeli’s capability to remain prepared and step in like that and assist us out on an evening we actually wanted it,” Walton stated.
Bjelica is within the remaining 12 months of his contract with the Kings and there’s a risk that he gained’t end out the season in Sacramento. There are groups across the league that may use a veteran huge that may knock down a 3-point shot and make the suitable performs and Bjelica’s title has already come up in commerce rumors.
For now, Bjelica continues to be a King and he as soon as once more proved his worth within the group’s win over the Pistons.