Nemanja Bjelica ruled out vs. Rockets with stomach ailment
Sacramento Kings forward Nemanja Bjelica will miss his team’s game against the Houston Rockets on Saturday with a stomach bug, the team announced.
— Sacramento Kings (@SacramentoKings) March 30, 2019
The 2018-19 season has been the finest of the Serbian star’s four-year career. After spending the first three seasons of his NBA tenure with the Minnesota Timberwolves, Bjelica signed a three-year, $20.4 million deal with the Sacramento Kings last summer. He’d originally agreed to a one-year deal with the Philadelphia 76ers, but backed out of the pact to supposedly resume his career overseas. Instead, Bjelica signed with Sacramento less than a week later.
Starting 64 of the 71 games in which he’s appeared, Bjelica is averaging career-highs across the board of 9.5 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 2.0 assists per game while shooting 47.3 percent overall and 40.1 percent from beyond the arc. Shoehorned into the role of spot-up shooter during his time in Minnesota, the 2015 Euroleague MVP has thrived this season playing a more active part in Sacramento’s go-go offensive attack.
Still, it remains to be seen how important he will be to the Kings’ fortunes going forward. Fans and analysts alike began calling for coach Dave Joerger to replace Bjelica in the starting lineup with No. 2 overall pick Marvin Bagley III as early as January, when Bjelica was struggling offensively. It seems most likely that the 30 year old continues his career as a reserve going forward, juicing Sacramento’s offense as floor-spacing, playmaking power forward.
The Kings, 37-38, have yet to be officially eliminated from playoff contention, but trail eighth place, currently shred by the Oklahoma City Thunder and San Antonio Spurs, by six and-a-half games with seven left to play in the regular season.
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