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Ryan Knaus expalins why the Miami Heat acquired Nemanja Bjelica at the deadline and how he may end up starting in South Beach for the rest of the season.
- The Heat traded frontcourt mainstay Kelly Olynyk in their deal to acquire Victor Oladipo. They're considered front runners to add LaMarcus Aldridge in free agency. But he opted to chase a ring with the Nets instead. That places extra importance on the pickup of Nemanja Bjelica, who came relatively cheap, after falling out of favor in Sacramento.
Bjelica elites now finds himself as the default starting power forward in Miami. Or at least that's how it looks on paper. The Heat can go small around Bam Adebayo. But even if they do opt to bring Bjelica off the bench, his role should be sufficient for top 150 fantasy value in almost all situations.
I do realize that I'm talking about a player who is averaging 7 points and 3.8 rebounds this season, a guy whose role in Sacramento was so diminished that he requested to be taken out of the rotation for a month, rather than accept a smaller role behind Marvin Bagley, a guy whose trade value on an expiring contract was only sufficient to bring back Mo Harkless and Chris Silva for the Kings.
And yet, this is also the same guy who cruised with top 75 roto value in under 2008 minutes per game last season. He has no health issues, and has played in at least 65 games for each of the past four seasons. He's also extremely rested, after barely playing for the Kings.
Bjelica comes in averaging a career high four times per 36 minutes this season. He can score in bunches, collect boards, contribute some defensive stats, and do it all without hurting you in turnovers, field goal percentage, for free throw percentage. It's all reason enough to grab Bjelica, a potential rest of season starter on a team that will feed key guys playing time to develop chemistry in the final weeks leading up to the playoffs.