The process at the Philadelphia 76ers has just added a bit of winning touch, as Marco Belinelli, one-time championship winner with the San Antonio Spurs in 2014, has put pen to paper with the 6ers.
Belinelli's history in Canada, with the Toronto Raptors, was determinant for him to move to Philadelphia, as the 6ers General Manager, Bryan Colangelo, is the same GM which brought him on in Toronto back in 2009. It's a matter of trust through which both parties hope to benefit.
The Bologna-born player started the 2018 campaign with the Atlanta Hawks, the Eastern Conference's worst team so far, featuring in just 52 games. Despite the struggles of the Hawks over the first part of the season, the Italian managed to average 11.4 points, 1.9 rebounds and 2 assists per game (pg), allowing him to still be an attraction for high-profile teams across the league.
Undoubtedly, Belinelli is known for his shooting ability, which earned him also the 3-Point Contest back in 2014, especially from behind the arc, where his shooting career-average is around 38 percent. Hence, the Sixers can bank on the former Golden State Warriors' guard's three-point shooting, given that they currently sit 18th in total treys made, with just 554.
In his 11th NBA year, Belinelli can be considered as a veteran player and together with his shooting stats, the Sixers may have just acquired the right personnel for their bench. The difficulties that encountered the likes of T.J. McConnell, Jerryd Bayless and Justin Anderson in the threes will provide an opportunity to fill in the role of a sixth-man for the Italian.
In addition to shooting, the 31-year old can also handle things on the floor, like screening which enables his team mates to cut into open spaces while he can profit of his strength to move himself to the rim. The fluid offensive system of the Sixers should enhance Belinelli's playing style.
Having a strong quintet is the basic rule, but boasting a decent bench is also important if one wants to extend his calendar to the post-season, and Belinelli is definitely a player the Sixers can bank on.
Brett Brown's bench was not as productive as he wished this season as while they struggled with shooting, his clan could not even secure wins especially when the likes of Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons go off - not exactly healthy for the process.
Belinelli will be helpful in retaining stability when the big names go off, offering physical presence on the field and a winning mentality which will enable the bench to remain competitive at any moment throughout their games.
The Sixers are currently 26th in the NBA in second-unit points, with just 27.1 ppg and 29th with 32.1 percent of converted threes. Bringing on Beli was a clever move.
In the current Sixers roster, only J.J Redick and Amir Johnson can offer post-season experience, as the other members in the roster, including regular starters like Dario Saric and Robert Covingtonand have never made it through.
In this aspect, in fact, Belinelli is a perfect addition having not only played in the post-season, but he is an owner of an NBA ring as well. Finding the right balance between youth enthusiasm and veteran players is not always, and this can be visible in sides like the pre-trade deadline day Cleveland Cavaliers, who were struggling with their ageing roster while the likes of the Raptors, with a mix of experienced players like DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry and youth players is helping them to cruise past everyone in the Conference.
Something which may be overlooked with all this analysis and stats that come with it, is that Belinelli was under the guidance of a coach like Gregg Popovich, hence he has definitely acquired the right knowledge of the NBA from which the Sixers can benefit in order to clinch a post-season berth for the first time since 2012.
Trust the process @sixers pic.twitter.com/0zXs3Q2Yr0— Marco Belinelli (@marcobelinelli) February 13, 2018
Belinelli looks excited as well..