In 2008, Carlo Recalcati, head coach of the Italian national team, said he hoped that Belinelli would get traded from the Golden State Warriors to the Raptors, so he can play alongside Andrea Bargnani. Recalcati believed that Belinelli would thrive playing alongside his national teammate.
He has been on Toronto’s radar for almost a year. Colangelo almost pulled off a trade to obtain him in the middle of last season but was rebuffed by Golden State management. The 6-foot-5 Italian native is comfortable playing either backcourt position, which fits with Colangelo’s desire to load the roster with players capable of playing more than one position.
His acquisition further throws into question Toronto’s ability – or desire – to re-sign restricted free agent Carlos Delfino.
Belinelli was the No. 18 pick in the 2007 draft but rarely saw the floor in Golden State, which has a surplus of wing players. But he is only 23 years old, while George will turn 32 next month. The 6-foot-5 Belinelli is considered a promising shooter and scorer and is a favourite of Raptors general manager Bryan Colangelo, who has been trying to acquire him. Although healthy, Belinelli played in only 42 of the Warriors’ 82 games last season. When he did play, he averaged 21 minutes, 8.9 points, 1.7 rebounds and 2.1 assists.
Belinelli is likely going to get more of a chance to play in Toronto than he got in Golden State under Don Nelson. Belinelli played sparingly as a rookie, then received inconsistent minutes during an injury-plagued 2008-09.
He averaged 13.4 points per game when he got 20 or more minutes, but there were also 15 times when Belinelli took a DNP-CD. Depending on how Toronto’s backcourt shakes out, Belinelli could be in the starting two-guard mix along with Antoine Wright and Jarrett Jack.
The gray eminences in the Warriors front office have just traded him to the Toronto Raptors for three cans of paint and a suppository. Well, for Devean George.
Yes, I know it’s unlikely that George will ever play for the Warriors. And I know the Warriors have more shooting guards than Don Nelson has beers in his fridge.
But this is Marco Belinelli. Someone whose eyes said “I am asleep” and whose shot said “I can do this in my sleep”.
With Anthony Parker now in Cleveland, the 6-6 DeRozan will be given a chance to win the starting shooting guard job in training camp; his main competition is newly signed veteran Jarrett Jack, but at 6-3 and more of a point the team would much rather Jack spells Jose Calderon off the bench. DeRozan had a strong showing in Vegas, averaging 17 points (49% FG) and 4.8 boards per and showing some serious hops. He turns just 20 years old next week and clearly has more long-term potential than short, but should make enough of an impact to sneak onto the Second Team.
Perhaps the Raptors choice of loading up on Europeans is the ying to the yang of their MLSE counterpart the Toronto Maple Leafs. Brian Burke has spent all off season unloading anything with a non North American passport and his Basketball counter part Bryan Colangelo has been doing the direct opposite.
Nonetheless I like this move on the surface for both basketball reasons and non basketball reasons. I’ve been fond of Belinelli’s game and actually thought the Raptors might try to acquire him during a draft day trade in 2007. Hopefully his game will blossom under the guise of the Euro-Raptors style. If anything at least Andrea Bargnani now has an Italian running mate to take the pressure off of him from all the Vito’s in Woodbridge who call in the Fan590 .
My oh my. It was a joke that really wasn’t that funny. To tell you the truth it’s a joke that some Warriors fans feel outraged over this trade. It’s meaningless and it’s not going to effect the 2008-2009 Golden State Warriors season one bit. Folks hate it when I say this, but I doubt Belinelli is even in the league in 2 years. Actually scratch that. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Toronto Craptors "braintrust" inked him to a 5 year $50 million extension a la Andrea Bargnani.
We probably have some Raps fans reading and looking for some 4-1-1 on Belinelli’s tenure with the Warriors. Here’s my 20 cents that I detailed earlier:
One of the most unrecognized aspects of Toronto’s offseason has been the fact that the team has shed two of its best perimeter shooters in Anthony Parker and Jason Kapono this summer. While neither one was exactly a make-’em-when-they’re-needed threat last year, both still demanded attention from defenses and both helped keep the mid-range open for guys like Bosh and Bargnani to operate in.
With both of those players gone, and ostensibly replaced by poor three-point shooters Antoine Wright and DeMar DeRozen, the Raptors were actually looking like a club without an overabundance of long-range bombing. After all, this is a team that still carries the league record for consecutive games with a three-pointer made (859) and has a reputation for stocking their team full of gunners – at times at the expense of guys who will penetrate or draw fouls. Belinelli (along with Turkoglu and Andrea Bargnani) helps keep Toronto’s long-range reputation alive.
My reaction to this is “awesome,” at least until we know more. Even then, I’m pretty sure it’ll be something between that and “good.”
Basically, the Raps trade a guy who was hardly going to play, on the downside of his career, for a 23-year-old who’s shown plenty of promise in the past.
Take a look at that picture above – That’s what Raps fans should (hopefully) get used to seeing. This guy can flat out shoot, and all indications are that he actually wants to use that skill in games (as opposed to Mr. Kapono). He’s also pretty cheap and should be a solid scoring option off the bench. Golden State simply had too many wing players and ball handlers, whereas Toronto certainly has a spot for someone like this.
In today’s NBA economy, especially with Toronto seemingly being the lone bidder for his services, the last thing I wanted to see was a $5 Million deal handed out to Delfino, or any contract that was for over three years. As one of our readers discussed with me over the weekend, we would rather see Toronto pay extra for Carlos provided the club wasn’t handcuffed to yet another long-term deal.
So while I did value Delfino’s return, it was partly based on the lack of other options, and partly dependant on his final contract amount. So if a cheaper alternative presented itself…
In my books that’s exactly what Bryan Colangelo has done here, presented fans with a cheaper, and possibly as productive alternative. Let’s look at some stats.
The 23-year-old guard has, admittedly, had an “average” start to his NBA career. After struggling through his rookie season, Belinelli had a chance to bust out a little bit last year … given the glut of injuries the Warriors were experiencing. He started 23 games for the Bay Area Boys – including an impressive 15-game stretch from mid-December to mid-January where he averaged more than 15 points per game and earned a ton of respect from his teammates.
Speaking about Belinelli back in December 2008, then-teammate Stephen Jackson told the San Francisco Chronicle:
“When (Marco) wasn’t playing, when he said he wanted to be traded and all that stuff, I was like, man, we’re going to lose a good player. He’s a guy that got caught up in a numbers game, and I’ve been through that too. I’m glad he’s taking advantage of his opportunity, because that’s what it’s all about.”
By moving a player that had minimal value to the franchise in George, they were able to obtain a 23-year-old who many predict will have bright future in the NBA. Sure, he only averaged 8.9 points and 2.1 assists per game with the Warriors last season, but Belinelli scored more than 15 points on seven different occasions last season. It’s no coincidence that those scoring outbursts came in games where Don Nelson finally gave the youngster some minutes and freed him from the end of his bench.
As for Toronto, it’s an excellent trade. They basically got a player for nothing, and that player is useful in the present tense and has good potential for the future. Nice get for the Raptors.
Unfortunately, I think Belinelli is a lousy fit in Toronto’s current lineup/roster due to the team’s problems defensively and on the glass, and I think that will limit his immediate impact on the Raptors.