The San Antonio Spurs could do a lot worse than the veteran sharpshooter
Of all the players that caught flack from San Antonio Spurs fans this year, perhaps no one was targeted more than Marco Belinelli. Whether he deserved it or not, you could often see Spurs fans ragging on Marco throughout the season.
To be fair to the fans, it wasn’t totally without cause. The 13 year NBA veteran has his fair share of shortcomings as a player. He’s a consistent liability on defense and his propensity for throwing up off-balance shots can be incredibly frustrating at times. When they go in it’s electric, but too often it seems that Marco exaggerated the lean for theatricality, not because it helped him get a better look at the rim.
By far the biggest knock on Belinelli is his lackluster defense. He tied Bryn Forbes for the worst defensive rating on the team. The Spurs gave up 118 points per 100 possessions when Belinelli was on the floor. But you don’t need advanced stats to tell you that Marco doesn’t bring a ton on the defensive end of the floor. Just watch a few games and you’ll regularly see him get beat by his man or slide out of place.
But defensive lapses aside, there are still a few key reasons to bring Belinelli back for one more season.
San Antonio Spurs should bring Marco Belinelli back for one last run
Even if he’s not bringing much on defense, Marco still has one skill that makes him valuable to the Spurs – he knocks down open three’s. He had a bit of a down year this year, his shot came and went like the seasons and there were stretches of games where he couldn’t seem to buy a bucket. But his overall percentages were right in line with what we’ve seen from him across the entirety of his career and he got into a nice groove in the bubble.
In Orlando, Belinelli was knocking down close to 40 percent of his shots and flowed smoothly with the fast-paced, run and gun offense that the Spurs were running. And as much as we want to believe that Derrick White‘s impressive showing from behind the arc will carry over into next year, it would be a smart move to bring back a proven shooter like Belinelli as an insurance policy.
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There was some frustration over Belinelli receiving minutes over younger guys like Lonnie Walker and Keldon Johnson, but that shouldn’t stop San Antonio from bringing him back for another year as a bench gunner.
DeMar DeRozan is likely to pick up his player option for the 2020-21 season and will join Rudy Gay, Patty Mills, and LaMarcus Aldridge in the group of Spurs veterans who will be approaching unrestricted free agency in the summer of 2021. Barring a scenario in which all of these guys get traded before or during the season, the Spurs youth movement is still likely a full season away from becoming a full-time thing.
So why not bring Marco back for one last season? Looking at the crop of 2020 free agents, there aren’t many players out there who can match his shooting ability and familiarity with the Spurs system. It could be a better play to re-sign a guy who knows what the team wants to do and accepts his role as a bench shooter rather than use that money to go out and find a long term suitor for what the Spurs are looking to do, at least in this offseason.
Marco isn’t going to be around for the long haul. He simply doesn’t fit the timeline that the key players on the San Antonio Spurs roster do, but that doesn’t mean he can’t contribute. He knows the team and the coaches and should be brought back for one last hurrah with the Spurs.