Dec. 20, 2016
Rejuvenation of Marco Belinelli in Charlotte
Last season, the Charlotte Hornets got the best out of two players for a very cheap price. Jeremy Lin and Courtney Lee had career years in Charlotte and when this past years free agency came around, it was expected for both players to pursue bigger contracts, which they did. After the Hornets resigned their top priority Nicolas Batum to a max contract along with the departure of Lin and Lee from the team, the Hornets were back to the drawing board finding new additions to add the same kind of spark both Lin and Lee brought to the team. The Hornets used their 22nd overall draft pick by trading it to the Sacramento Kings for G/F Marco Belinelli. At first, many eyebrows were raised why trading a pick away, but it makes sense when you think drafting a player at that position of the draft would not make an immediate impact. The Hornets needed a player to come in right away and contribute. Belinelli suffered a career worst with the Kings last year only averaging 10.2 ppg and shooting 30% from three point range. GM Rich Cho believed he could come here and find his winning ways with the team and be that important piece to a successful Hornet season.
The Hornets started red hot in the season having a record of 6-1 at one point, now they are 15-13. The hornets did enter a losing slump but still the season has gone pretty well. Guard and team captain Kemba Walker is playing like and All-Star this year and Nicolas Batum is earning every cent of that $120 million contract for his versatile playing style. Marco Belinelli this season is averaging 11.4 ppg off the bench and shooting an outstanding 45% from three-point range. Belinelli has been playing in a lot of crunch time moments in games providing offense and spacing on the court. When the Hornets need a basket in the late moments in the game, Coach Steve Clifford subs him in for Michael Kidd-Gilchrist to have as many scoring options on the floor. Belinelli has shown his veteran savvy and crafty play that makes him an important piece to the Hornets success this season. Coming in with the second unit, Coach Clifford feels comfortable resting starters Walker and Batum because Belinelli can handle his own and keep the second unit in control without blowing huge leads. With the way Belinelli is playing, there will be many teams keeping an eye on him when free agency rolls around. He has 2 years left on his contract and he could be an entertaining piece once the trade deadline comes around. Marco’s concentration right now is playing the season out and continuing his hot 3-point shooting and terrific bench play.I don’t expect the Hornets to use him as sort of a trade package but anything can happen in this league.