Marco Belinelli Quietly Prospering Off San Antonio Spurs’ Bench
The San Antonio Spurs, in typical fashion, weren’t going to be one of the teams in the NBA that went after the big-name free-agents this summer. As you would expect from years of seeing how this organization operates, they instead looked to sign guys that would fit their system well and add another dimension to their dynamic offense.
One such player that the Spurs went after was veteran guard Marco Belinelli. Spending last season with the Chicago Bulls, the Italian guard had some bright moments, but certainly didn’t flourish overall. He averaged just 9.6 points and two assists in 25.8 minutes per game on just 39.5 percent shooting from the floor and 35.7 percent shooting from three.
Though it’s only been 12 games so far for the Spurs this season, Belinelli has been exactly what the Spurs want and need him to be off of the bench. On Friday against the Memphis Grizzlies, Belinelli saw the floor for 20 minutes and played well as a reserve as he notched nine points, three rebounds, and two assists in limited action.
In the 11 games prior to Friday, Belinelli has been the same type of spark off of the Spurs’ bench. In those games, he averaged 7.3 points, two assists and 2.8 rebounds in 20.5 minutes per game. What’s been key for his success this year, though, has been the fact that he’s shot a solid 47.8 percent from the field and 50 percent from three. He’s been an ideal fit in this Spurs system.
Many people will say that San Antonio’s system makes players look better than they are, but I’m not convinced that’s the case here. Sure, Belinelli is having much more success with the Spurs, but this is also an ideal role for him on a good team. He can come into games and just be another shooter on the wings or be a savvy player that’s quick to get open off of the ball. You can say this system is why he’s been so good, but perhaps it’s he that fits the system and not the system that makes him look this good.