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Thursday, June 24, 2010
Who is Nemanja Bjelica?

By Jeff Caplan

He's a rising Serbian star. He's 6-foot-10. He's a point guard. He's a shooting guard. He's a small forward. By size alone, he should be a power forward. What, is Nemanja Bjelica the next Kevin Durant?

Well, not yet at least.

But, with ballhandling skills usually reserved for men of smaller stature, he is one of the more interesting players in the draft and at least one mock draft board -- DraftExpress -- has him slotted at No. 50 to the Dallas Mavericks.

Maybe that's because of the Mavs' diligence in sizing up European players or their willingness to go after unique players. Can't you see it now: a 7-foot power forward in Dirk Nowitzki who plays like a shooting guard and a 6-10 guy who'll play point forward?

Maybe if Don Nelson still coached the team it would make more sense.

However, Bjelica might not be as attractive after DraftExpress.com reported Wednesday that he signed a three-year deal overseas with Benetton. He has a $1 million NBA buyout after each season.

Of course, if the Mavs were to draft him, he'd likely play overseas anyway.