Four games into the season, the San Antonio Spurs are pretty much what we thought they would be going in. At 3-1, they are looking like the contender we saw a year ago on both ends of the court. With a couple of under-the-radar additions doing pretty well, this team is in position to compete for a title once more.
One of the key players added over the offseason was former Chicago Bulls guard Marco Belinelli. I first thought that Belinelli could take on more of a Manu Ginobili-type of role off the bench and thus far, he’s proving me right. But, the thing with Belinelli is that he seems to be effective only when he plays a few more minutes.
Belinelli exploded a couple of days ago against the Portland Trail Blazers for 19 points and went 3-for-3 from beyond the arc while shooting 8-for-12 overall. Being a guy that has to get time to hit a rhythm, he’s averaging about 18 minutes per game. Against Portland, when he had his best game as a Spur, he received 27.
With the way Danny Green is struggling currently, it’s curious to wonder whether or not Belinelli should get a few more minutes per game and be given the green light to take more shots. Belinelli is shooting over 48 percent from the field as opposed to Green’s 26 percent. Green is also just 22 percent from three point range so far — very unlike him.
Obviously, coach Gregg Popovich has a plan in place and will stick to it because, well, he is an incredibly smart coach. But, it is possible we see Belinelli become more a part of that plan as the season goes on. As guys like Tony Parker and Tim Duncan are taking a lot of attention offensively, it opens things up for shooters — something Green has learned very quickly. With the way he can also attack the basket, Belinelli could wind up helping the Spurs even more so if he received a few more minutes per night.