Nemanja Bjelica and Yogi Ferrell – Another New Approach?


Nineteen days into free agency, the Kings were yet to make a signing. After trading away veteran, Garrett Temple, fans were expecting signings galore and nothing came. Yogi Ferrell was signed to the Mavericks on a two-year deal and Nemanja Bjelica had pulled himself out of all contract discussions with the intention to return to Serbia next year.

Then, day twenty came. Apparently, Vlade Divac had been slowly changing Bjelica’s mind to potentially staying in America to play for the Sacramento Kings. All those rumors came true when Bjelica signed a three-year, twenty-million dollar contract. He stated that he was “overwhelmed [by] the organization’s belief in and commitment to” him.

That wasn’t all though. Yogi Ferrell reportedly “felt uncomfortable” with his two-year deal that he agreed to return to the Mavericks. Eventually, he officially backed out and ended up signing a similar deal worth about one million more with the Sacramento Kings.

Out of nowhere, Vlade Divac had made two legitimately good free agent signings; two low risk moves that could yield high rewards. How high could those rewards REALLY be though?

Nemanja Bjelica

To start, I’ll make a bold claim. I honestly believe that Nemanja Bjelica might be one of the best off-ball offensive players in the NBA. We all know that he’s one of the best shooting big men in the league, but what most didn’t know is that he’s actually a solid ball-handler and playmaker as well.

In all the highlight videos I’ve seen of him, his “Basketball IQ” is through the roof. He seems to always be in the right spot on offense. He makes cuts at the perfect timing for easy inside buckets while having the speed to keep up with many of the league’s small forwards.

While 21 million might seem like a lot essentially for Anthony Tolliver’s replacement, the third year of Bjelica’s contract is non-guaranteed; basically a team option. Just in case the perfect role player doesn’t fit in with our young core, we have the option to terminate the deal prior to many of our young stars entering restricted free agency.

Also, to all the idiotic Kings’ fans worried about our lack of a starting “small forward,” realize that it’s 2018 and positions are of the past. Bjelica, Bogdanovic, Buddy Hield, Justin Jackson, Skal Labbissiere, Ben Mclemore, and Marvin Bagley all have qualities of the “small forward” situation and will play there in certain lineups. Stop worrying about the irrelevance that is positional basketball.

Yogi Ferrell

The Bjelica signing was a seamless fit. We needed some more veteran leadership, forward-help, and shooting on a flexible contract, so why not? Ferrell is going to have to work for his role on the team. He and fan-favorite guard, Frank Mason play very similar styles on offense. Each is slightly undersized and often take advantage of their elusiveness to get open through a variety of give-and-go’s, pick-and-rolls, and deep three-point shots. So, why do we need both?

They might be able to play together in some lineups. Hear me out on this. This Kings’ roster has so much depth with so many different types of players (just look at our potential big man rotation) that we might be able to constantly switch in and out players to confuse the opponent. It’d make more sense to see on the court but imagine Damian Lillard or Steph Curry being forced to guard De’Aaron Fox, Yogi Ferrell, Frank Mason, Bogdan Bogdanovic, and Buddy Hield all at separate times of the game.

While confusing the other team and keeping our players rested and healthy at the same time, tt just might be crazy enough to work.

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