Marco Belinelli is one of the most bizarrely polarizing players in recent memory. He is routinely regarded as a premier shooter with the ability to put the ball on the floor, but there’s significant statistical evidence to the contrary. He’s lauded for his play “in the clutch,” which is fine, except that it ignores how genuinely awful he can be in other situations.
Belinelli signed a one-year, $1.8 million contract after the Bulls traded Kyle Korver for absolutely nothing. Somehow, people insisted this made the Bulls better. I cannot tell you how many people I encountered who told me that Korver sucked and Belinelli was better at everything except shooting. First of all, the premise that Korver sucks is an utter falsehood, so let’s get that out of the way now. And Belinelli is better at putting the ball on the floor and making plays for himself, except for the part where he actually puts the ball in the basket or passes to someone else who can do so.
Korver shot 46.1 percent from the field this year (45.7 from three) and averaged 2.3 assists per 36 minutes. Belinelli, by way of comparison, shot 39.5 percent from the field (35.7 from three) and averaged 2.8 assists per 36. And it bears noting that Korver had the ball in his hands a LOT less than Belinelli — Korver’s usage rate was 14.5 percent, while Belinelli’s was 18.7 percent.
Anyway, all that aside, Belinelli did have his moments. His various game-winners over the course of the year were exciting, although it should be noted that his shot in the game against Boston was set up by an absolutely horrific shot he took on the possession before that didn’t even come close to going in. He absolutely stepped up in the playoffs when the Bulls seemingly lost half their team — his 22-5-7 line in game 7 in Brooklyn was huge, and also provided possibly the best moment of the year when Marco decided to explain how large his “spicy meatballs” were.
So yes, there’s a lot to like about Marco’s season. But I can’t get past the fact that a guy who was brought in because of his shooting couldn’t even crack 40 percent from the field. Frankly, I’m extremely happy his role will be filled by Mike Dunleavy this season.
Final Grade: C+