Sacramento Kings: Underrated veteran continues miraculous season

Sacramento Kings (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Sacramento Kings (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

Sacramento Kings veteran forward Nemanja Bjelica is once again proving to be an invaluable part of this young Kings roster down the stretch.

Coming out of nowhere this season, veteran forward Nemanja Bjelica continues to provide a massive spark for this young Sacramento Kings‘ team.

With several new career highs across the board, the 31-year-old has genuinely helped this young group of players fight to keep this team in playoff contention.

After the Kings signed Bjelica to a three-year $20 million deal prior to last season, the move left some scratching their heads. Most fans had likely never heard this name as he was an under-the-radar signing.

Primarily a team full of young players, this move was to clearly help boost a playoff push they had fallen short of for years by bringing in an experienced veteran.

However, nobody could have predicted what Bjelica was going to produce for this team, destroying previous career numbers on the offensive side of the ball.

Averaging 12.2 points per game on 48.0 percent shooting from the field, the forward has been a massive help for the Kings this season. Pumping the points per game up from last year’s 9.6, Bjelica is averaging double figures for the first time in his career.

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This increased production of offense has been thanks to Bjelica’s increased role as a starter for this Kings’ team.

Averaging career highs in field goal attempts, two-point attempts, and three-point attempts, the rejuvenated forward has been totaling career bests in makes throughout those categories as well.

This past 10-game stretch from their power forward is exactly what the Kings need as their fight to end the playoff drought intensifies.

Averaging 15 points per game on 50.9 percent shooting from the field and an unbelievable 50.9 percent from downtown, Bjelica has been phenomenal with the ball in his hands.

Particularly in a recent game where the struggling Orlando Magic came to town. In a battle down to the very end, Bjelica had a career night for himself. Shooting a sensational 13-of-16 from the floor including 8-of-10 from three-point territory, Bjelica finished with 34 points — a new career-high.

Regardless, the Kings would lose heartbreakingly as the Magic would steal a 114-112 win. However, despite the loss, Bjelica’s impact goes much farther than his points on the stat sheet.

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The 31-year old has become not only a starter on this young Kings’ team but also one of their key pieces. His veteran experience has been a huge difference-maker and could very well be one of the reasons the Kings end their playoff drought this season.