Only the most observant of basketball fans can spot all the great things that San Antonio Spurs shooting guard Marco Belinelli brings to the floor.
Yes, it is quite clear to see that he can shoot, but his enormous heart is what makes his signing to the 2012-13 NBA Finals runner-ups as perhaps the sleeper addition to top all others during the offseason. He’s also sneaky fast and unexpectedly athletic. For the Spurs, his versatility on both offense (can play the one, two or three) and defense (can guard both backcourt slots) makes him integral to another Finals run during the 2013-14 season.
The five-year veteran averaged nine points per game in 27 starts last year, but Bulls fans can fondly recall his postseason feats of heroism. Marco is also a bit of an insurance policy against injuries in the backcourt, inconsistency from SG Danny Green and also against another sub-par year from an aging Manu Ginobili as well.
However, I don’t see his addition as a knock on Ginobili, but rather an attempt at preserving Manu for when he’s needed most — the post season. For now, it would appear as though coach Gregg Popovich plans on having them both come off the bench. That would likely be the core of a bench mob that will be the envy of the league.
Both Manu and Marco shot the three ball better than 50 percent in the preseason, both love to pass and both present matchup problems for the overwhelming majority of second-tier players in the NBA.
Ricardo A. Hazell is a freelance writer for Rant Sports based in New York City. You can follow him on Twitter at NikosMightyDad or add him to your network on Google Plus.