Warriors

Kerr sees Bjelica as 3-point 'version' of Mo Buckets

Warriors
Nemanja Bjelica

If there was one particular skill the Warriors prioritized in free agency, it clearly was perimeter shooting. Golden State wanted to improve its floor spacing, and Otto Porter Jr., a career 40.2 percent shooter from 3-point range, certainly should help with that.

But Porter Jr. isn't the only one. Nemanja Bjelica, who also joined the Warriors on the veteran's minimum, has made 38.7 percent of his 3-point attempts throughout his six-year NBA career. Coach Steve Kerr is looking forward to what Bjelica can bring to the offense, and believes he can have a similar impact to a recent fan favorite.

"I think he’s a four/five," Kerr said of Bjelica to The Athletic's Tim Kawakami. "I think it’s really exciting. You think about it, we’ve never had a pick-and-pop big. Actually, I shouldn’t say that. We had Mo Speights. What I should say is we haven’t had a 3-point shooting pick-and-pop big. When we had Mo, he was a 20-foot-and-in jump-shooter, and he helped us win a lot of games. A fan favorite. Mo Buckets, he was great and played a really important role on our team.

"I look at Bjelica as the 3-point-shooting version of Mo, in many ways. Because all of a sudden, you’re looking at a spaced floor when you consider Klay’s return and Steph’s play last year, the ability to play Bjelica with Draymond, which basically turns Draymond into the five and the pick-and-roll guy with Bjelica spaced. Really exciting."

 

"There’s a lot of lineup combinations that you can unlock and a lot of floor spacing to explore," Kerr added. "So he’s a really exciting addition."

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Speights played a pivotal role as a reserve for the Warriors from 2013-14 through 2015-16, helping to stretch the floor off the bench. That's the same role they envision for Bjelica, whose track record would suggest he's more than capable of doing so.

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