It’s tough to find your stride in the NBA because your career can be over before you thought it had even begun. For Marco Belinelli it’s been somewhat tough to find a consistent role on any team and playing time for him has been sporadic at best. For the Hornets his role is set to increase and I firmly believe he’s up to the task.
The Italian sharpshooter possesses a number of skills the Hornets need coming off of the bench. His shooting touch, under-the-radar athleticism and underrated passing skills are all important assets to this team if they are to make the leap back into the playoffs.
It’ll be tough to judge Belinelli other than his night in, night out production. But he’s got a great opportunity (maybe the best he’s had) to find a consistent role with an NBA team.
Let’s head over the jump, Italian style…
Looking back over the Belinelli’s brief NBA career it’s tough to notice any big-time trends. After his first year in Golden State, Marco saw a big increase in playing time, from 7 MPG to 21 MPG. He used that extra playing time to jump his PPG from 2.9 to 8.9.
Based on his per-7 minutes he produced 2.9 PPG in his first year and 2.96 in his second season. It’s reasonable to expect the same from him. So if Belinelli played about 14 minutes he would score about 6 points per game from us if he kept up his career pace. However I don’t think it will be as simple as that, I think with Chris Paul, Marco will produce just a little better contributing nicely to the team.
If we take a look at the roster at current there seems to be a bit of a logjam at guard positions behind Chris Paul. Belinelli is talented enough to secure a position behind Thornton and I personally would give him an outside shot of taking the starting position if he shows he’s got the defensive game to match.
However if Belinelli is going to get decent bench minutes it really makes me question the whole Songaila, Brackins trade for Green and Smith. If Pargo is going to be the backup to Paul then where does Green fit in?
If we move on back to Belinelli for a second, what this “logjam” means to me is that the front-office is not happy with the players they have on the bench. When Monty says there is an opening at the starting 2-guard position, you better believe him. That is why they’ve brought in Green, Belinelli, Strawberry and Shakur.
For Belinelli he is the second most talented two-guard on the team. It would be crazy to think he couldn’t secure 14 minutes a game. I really hope he does because he fits in very nicely with a playmaker of Paul. All-in-all it seems like he is a great option off the bench and without him the Hornets bench unit is significantly weaker.
Defense is the key for not just Belinelli but the entire team. If he can’t adapt to the Monty Williams Way, then I’m afraid not only he, but the team is in trouble big-time as they hunt for Western Conference relevance.
Points Per Game: 7
Assists Per Game: 1
Steals Per Game: 0.8
3-Point Shooting Percentage: 39.5
Minutes Per Game: 14