The Warriors' roster is beginning to take shape, and one name that has caught Draymond Green by surprise is Serbian forward Nemanja Bjelica.
The 33-year-old, 6-foot-10 EuroLeague star and six-year NBA veteran has made quite the impression on Draymond throughout training camp and preseason with the Warriors.
Signed by Golden State on Aug. 6 to a veteran's minimum contract, Bjelica will bring size to the Warriors roster, as well as some surprising playmaking ability.
“I didn’t even know [Nemanja Bjelica] could make plays like that off the dribble," Green told media prior to Tuesday's game against the Los Angeles Lakers. "I had no f--king clue.”
“Then I’ve been spending a little bit of time with him, and he’s like ‘Yeah man when I was overseas and won EuroLeague MVP, that’s what I was. I made plays, I shot the ball … that’s what I do,’ " Green said. "I was like ‘I didn’t know you can make plays like that.' "
Bjelica, who has averaged 7.9 points per game throughout his NBA career, was never widely known as a scoring threat. A career 38 percent from 3-point range and 46 percent from the field would say otherwise.
What sort of role could Bjelica have in the Warriors' offense this season?
“That’s good to see, good to know," Green added. "When you’ve got a jump shot like, teams are going to close on you hard. For him to be able to put the ball on the floor like that and make plays. For the most part in his career, he’s played with traditional bigs. Where he may not have the athleticism to get into the paint and finish over guys.
"That’s usually something you face when you have a traditional big. We don’t really play traditional basketball, so when he’s getting in the paint he can either finish or you have somebody rotating, then you can make the right play. That’s good to see because he can still have those opportunities. With him making plays like that, it will be good.”
The Warriors, who were thrilled to sign Bjelica to the team-friendly contract, are hoping the big man can stretch the floor for them this season.
It sounds like Bjelica might be able to do more than that.