Last season with the Chicago Bulls, frustrating would be one of the best ways to describe the play of six-year NBA veteran guard Marco Belinelli. One game he would be an offensive threat, the next night he would keep shooting despite the fact that it seemed like everyone was begging him not to. It was an Italian-themed roller coaster of emotion.
In 73 games last year, Belinelli averaged 9.6 points and two assists in 25.8 minutes per game. The most frustrating and concerning part of his play, though, was the fact that he shot only 39.5 percent from the field and just 35.7 percent from three, both percentages being way down from his career marks of 41.8 and 38.7 percent, respectively.
Now that Belinelli has signed with the San Antonio Spurs, though, people should expect him to be a much bigger offensive threat than he was in Chicago and should also expect him to turn into one of the weapons that the Spurs always seem to end up with and continuously churn out.
In Chicago, Belinelli was asked to run a lot of pick-and-roll plays where he was the primary ball-handlers, as well as a good bit of isolation sets. The problem with that is that he’s not as his best in those situations. Belinelli thrives in scoring off of cuts and in being a spot-up shooter, the latter of which I expect to see him doing a lot of in San Antonio.
With the Bulls, Belinelli averaged 1.08 points per possession on spot-up opportunities, the 84th best rate in the league. More importantly, especially with the Spurs, he shot a fantastic 41.4 percent from long-range on spot-up shots last season. Under Gregg Popovich, Belinelli is not only going to be asked to spot-up, but he should also have a good deal of open looks. If that’s the way it works out, expect a much more efficient and dangerous player than what we saw last season.
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