San Antonio Spurs: How the return of Marco Belinelli preserves a culture
By Dylan Carter
In 2014, the San Antonio Spurs perfected the art of team basketball with their “Beautiful Game” championship season.
The San Antonio Spurs’ Big Three, complemented by a stellar young wing by the name of Kawhi Leonard, were deeply motivated by their heartbreaking loss in the previous year’s finals. Despite a record-setting output by Danny Green in the 2013 Finals, Gregg Popovich decided that the team needed some more firepower on the wing. They subsequently signed Marco Belinelli to a two-year deal and went on to have one of the most historically impressive seasons of the century.
Similarly to the 2013 offseason, the team decided that it was time to add some firepower to kick off 2018 free agency. As reported by Adrien Wojnarowski, Belinelli has signed a two-year $12 million deal to return to San Antonio.
On the surface level, the addition of Belinelli adds a dynamic perimeter scorer for a team that desperately needs an uptick in three-point shooting. Despite their historical emphasis on three-point efficiency, San Antonio had one of their worst shooting seasons in recent history. As a team, they tied with Memphis for the fourth lowest three-point shooting percentage in the NBA at 35.5 percent from deep.
Belinelli, on the other hand, is a career 37.7 percent three-point shooter and is coming off of one of his strongest seasons to date. Despite a stagnant start in Atlanta, Beli was a key contributor on a highly competitive Philadelphia team after being bought out midway through the year. His high IQ and instant offense were highlighted by the 76ers’ high tempo playstyle and swift ball movement. He averaged 13.6 points per game on 10 shots in Philly and a career-high 12.1 points on the season.
I’m back !!!! pic.twitter.com/Bv4oRpmPAl
— Marco Belinelli (@marcobelinelli) July 1, 2018
It’s no secret that the Sixers are founded, in many parts, on the ideology behind the “Beautiful Game” Spurs. Head coach Brent Brown and head assistant Monty Williams are two highly-respected former Spurs staff members who’ve implemented similar strategies in the City of Brotherly Love.
Needless to say, Belinelli is a sight for sore eyes to many Spurs fans who’d hoped to retain his services in the summer of 2015. After a season of uncertainty, a familiar face is a nice consolation for a franchise suffering from a rough divorce with their star player. More than anything, Belinelli’s signing helps to affirm the foundation of Spurs basketball that’s been lost in the fray of a wild season. The playoff experience and corporate knowledge that Marco brings to the table are not only impactful on the court, but in the locker room.
The Post-Duncan era has been off to a rocky start for San Antonio, but the remnants of a championship contender remain. With or without Leonard, Popovich and the Spurs will compete to the best of their ability in the coming season.
Next: Spurs: Top 10 targets in 2018 free agency
Reimplementing Marco to the Spurs lineup will provide a breath of fresh air for a team that’s fighting against the odds.