Earlier today, it has been reported, courtesy of Ramona Shelburne and Marc Stein of ESPN.com, that Marco Belinelli and the San Antonio Spurs reached an agreement. Belinelli was signed to a two-year contract worth approximately $5.6 million.
Not only was the market value of Belinelli probably a bit higher than what the Spurs put on the table, but his skills and assets would sync perfectly with the Spurs' system.
Belinelli, a career 38.7 percent three-point scorer, would allow the Spurs to have another offensive weapon off of the bench to support Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green. Although Belinelli isn't the caliber of a defender as either of those two players, he improved his individual defense drastically last season under Tom Thibodeau and the Chicago Bulls.
According to 82games.com, Belinelli held opposing point guards to a PER of just 9.6, and opposing shooting guards to a PER of 12.3. He's no longer the one-dimensional shooter that he was always described as during his days with the New Orleans Hornets (now New Orleans Pelicans).
With a year under arguably the best defensive coach in the entire league, Belinelli's game has expanded beyond what people thought he was capable of.
Instead of being that "spark" off of the Spurs bench, Belinelli can provide much more. He can keep consistent pressure on the defensive end as Leonard and Green take a breather, while also grabbing the attention of the opposing defense on the other end of the floor.
Belinelli is a shooter, and that's his trademark. In the past few seasons, he has developed his playmaking and displayed a newfound aggressiveness during the Bulls' playoff run, which makes him a much bigger threat than others might think.
The Spurs, who ranked seventh in the league in three-point attempts during the 2012-13 campaign, are experts at finding the most efficient shots on the court. Although Belinelli shot only 39.5 percent from the field last season, he will have much more space to do his work when the defense is honing in on Tony Parker and Tim Duncan. On the Bulls, he was the first or second option on offense at times because of their lack of scorers, but his shooting efficiency should be much better on a superior offensive system with the Spurs.
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