Marco Belinelli came into Chicago this season, with a career average of 11 ppg, 2.8 rpg, and just under 30 minutes a game. With a salary of just 1.96 million, he was brought here to be an outside threat, and a Korver replacement. There are two different types of Bulls fans when it comes to the Marco/Korver situation. Many people would have rather kept Korver for his shooting, while others are on Marco’s side stating, he has so much more to offer to this team. I am on the Marco has a lot more to offer team. He came in here making just over 3 million dollars less than Korver and was a major contributor to the Bulls success this season.
At the start it was hard for Marco to get going, couldn’t quite find his groove in Thibs system. Missing on quite a few wide open 3 pointers. That’s all it would take for the chatter began. The comparison between him and Kyle. How Kyle was blossoming down in Atlanta, while Chicago is shooting in the bottom half of the league in 3 point percentage. It wasn’t until Rip’s first injury, when Marco introduced his skills to the Bulls and its fan base. In his first start against Cleveland, Marco dropped 23 pts and seemed to be in his comfort zone. In the 11 games he started with Rip out, Marco would average 16 ppg. It wasn’t just his point production that got noticed. Marco was the centerpiece of the offense. The guy Chicago went to down the stretch. With game winners against the Celtics, Pistons, Nets, and Jazz, its hard to argue against the fact that at 1.9 million this guy was a steal for the Bulls.
This year he was exactly what management had hoped to find in the offseason. An all around scorer with mediocre defense. When a score was needed, he was the go to man to provide a spark. I can’t stress enough how hard it is to find a player to contribute to his team in just his first season while making the small amount of money that he does.
The playoffs he seemed to disappear a bit, although that could be a testament to him coming off the bench again. It wasn’t until Game 6 against Brooklyn that he brought his game back. Marco was back in the starting lineup with Kirk and Loul out with an injury and illness. He would drop 22 pts in that game, and 24 in Game 7. Who could forget his contribution to possibly the game of the year for Chicago. A Game 7 matchup on the road against Brooklyn. Without two of their starters, the entire basketball world seemed to rule out a Chicago win. Marco would come through huge in that game hitting.
The Bulls played with the mentality all year-long of, next man up, or more than enough to win. With Marco Belinelli on your team doing things that nobody saw coming, and at times playing like a 8 million dollar player, you have to love what they were able to accomplish. He finished the season averaging 9 ppg, 2 assist, 1.9 rebounds, and 25.8 mpg. I think that next season given the current Salary Cap issues the Bulls are facing, it would be safe to say, Marco will be back. Unless of course like Nate, he has played himself out of the Bulls price range. Which could prove to be a major possibility.
Final Grade: B
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