Kings forward Nemanja Bjelica recounts his long road from Serbia to NBA

Dalton Johnson
NBC Sports BayArea

Kings forward Nemanja Bjelica recounts his long road from Serbia to NBA originally appeared on nbcsportsbayarea.com

Nemanja Bjelica's road to the NBA has been a long one, but he's always had his eyes on the prize.

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"I didn't know I'd make the NBA, but I was always chasing my dreams," Bjelica said in a video the Kings released Saturday on their Twitter.

Bjelica, 30, began his professional career in 2007, playing for the Arkadia Traiskirchen Lions of the Austrian League. He was selected by the Minnesota Timberwolves three years later with the No. 35 overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft.

But Bjelica didn't come to the NBA until 2015 and became a star in Europe. The forward was named EuroLeague MVP for the 2014-15 season when he averaged a career-high 12.1 points per game.

"I was drafted in 2010, and I enjoyed Minnesota for three years," Bjelica said. "And now in Sacramento, it's like a new chapter."

The Kings signed Bjelica to a three-year, $20.5 million contract on July 20, 2018. His first season in Sacramento was easily his best since joining the NBA.

Playing a career-high 77 games (70 starts), Bjelica averaged 9.6 points, 5.8 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game for the Kings. Both were career bests.

"I want to show that I can have a bigger role in the NBA," Bjelica said. "With all these young players, sometimes I just need to adjust my role, and I'm good with that.

"I just wanna play as long as I can, stay healthy and take care of my body every day to stay ready."

[RELATED: How Walton could be a good fit as Kings' next coach]

So far, so good to the start of Bjelica's new chapter in Sacramento.

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