After a year full of peaks and valleys, San Antonio Spurs sharpshooter Marco Belinelli showcased valuable strengths and detrimental weaknesses.
Reuniting with 2014 Champion Marco Belinelli was a sophisticated strategic move by general manager R.C. Buford in the Summer of 2018. Returning a fan favorite after an offseason of turmoil not only reinvigorated some nostalgia of the San Antonio Spurs fans, but it also provided the floor spacing and spectacular shot making that this team direly needed.
In his 12th season in the league at 32-years-old, Belinelli averaged 10.5 points per game on 41.3 percent from the field and 37.2 percent of 5 triples per game. He moved the ball relatively well in what became one of the most well-oiled benches that the league saw.
The chemistry between Marco and veteran point guard Patty Mills shined through for the second unit, channeling some of the ball movement and unselfishness that San Antonio rallied around just a few years ago to defeat the 2014 Miami Heat. By encapsulating that energy, Belinelli provided a breath of fresh air for a locker room that underwent a massive retooling process in the offseason.
In his best individual scoring performance of the season, Belinelli poured on 24 points on 80 percent shooting from the field along with four triples on six takes. The scoring outburst came in a 10-point loss in Oklahoma City as Russell Westbrook defended the Chesapeake Energy Arena with valor. This is another example of how Belinelli can have a strong game without influencing the outcome of the game, his playstyle can be extremely one-dimensional.
At his core, Belinelli is a shooter and nothing more. His three-point scoring prowess is among the best in the NBA, but his statistical and defensive impact is limited. Beli gets beat off the dribble often and lacks the physicality to keep up with the more athletic opponents at the shooting guard and small forward positions.
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Belinelli makes up for his lack of defensive effectiveness by raining endless fadeaway jumpers from around the arc. His specialty is unlike any other player in the sport – Belinelli is a master of curling around screens, absorbing contact and finishing heavily contested jumpers while leaning in the air. Spurs fans are conditioned to watch for smart and effective shots, especially in this newfound era of mid-range specificity. The reintroduction of Marco Belinelli to San Antonio’s lineup added a ‘wow factor’ that this team needed for entertainment purposes.
The most memorable shot of the season for Marco was a deep contested three-pointer over rookie shooting guard Kevin Huerter toward the end of the season. Belinelli gathered the ball near the half court line and stepped into a leaning three-pointer from the Spurs’ mid court logo.
There’s another year under contract for Marco Belinelli and it could be assumed that the 33-year-old will be back for another go of it in 2019.
He dwindled in the playoffs, shooting only 36.8 percent from the field in 18.8 minutes per game off the bench. There’s a solid chance that his minutes will diminish at the Spurs hope to implement Lonnie Walker IV to their lineup, but Beli still has a chance to make something happen for the Spurs next year.