NBA Roundtable

Raptors Acquire Belinelli

In Trade Talk on July 29, 2009 at 10:43 pm

Yahoo Sports reports

After failing to meet the initial expectations that surrounded his arrival as a first-round pick two years ago, the Golden State Warriors have traded guard Marco Belinelli to the Toronto Raptors, league sources told Yahoo! Sports on Wednesday night.

The Raptors will send Devean George to the Warriors.

Toronto GM Bryan Colangelo and his assistant GM, Maurizio Gherardini, have long been admirers of Belinelli and tried to draft him in 2007.

Doug Smith is reporting that the Raptors also included “a little bit of cash” in the trade.

Update: NBA Fanhouse says the cash considerations will pay for most of George’s contract. So, the Warriors saved a little money but gained no cap flexibility.

Finances

  • Devean George will earn $1.6 million next season
  • Marco Belinelli will earn $1.55 million next season. It is the third season of his rookie scale contract, so Toronto have a team option on a fourth season.

Thoughts

#1 — Why would Golden State trade Belinelli for no talent in return without getting better financial flexibility than this?

They couldn’t have gotten a non-guaranteed contract or two? Or a trade exception? They couldn’t have acquired a second round pick or two if they had to keep a non-entity like Devean George?

Strange trade from the Warriors management.

#2 — Excellent trade by Bryan Colangelo. He picked up a young rotation worthy player with good potential, and only had to give up an end of the roster talent to get it done.

Belinelli’s Fit

Offensively, Belinelli is a very good fit. He can handle the ball, pass the ball, can create with the basketball in his hands or by moving without the ball, and has great range on his jump shot. Triano gives good freedom to his players and that suits Belinelli perfectly. Given 30 minutes a night, Belinelli will get you 12-15 points and 3-4 assists, while hitting a couple of threes and being efficient overall offensively. He’s a skilled offensive player.

The problem is defense + rebounding. Belinelli is a poor defensive player and a terrible rebounder. Belinelli pulls down one rebound every 12 minutes, which is bad for a point guard nevermind a wing, and he does that in Golden State’s fast paced offense. By rebound rate, he’d rate even worse as a rebounder posting a mark of 4.1% for his career.

These weakness in Belinelli’s game are team-wide flaws for the Toronto Raptors. They’re going to limit, or at least should limit, the amount of playing time Belinelli should receive with the Raps next season.

Devean George

Devean George is finished as a rotation player in the NBA. He is an end of the roster player now, a 13-15th body on a roster. A locker room presence.

He pretty much has no value to a team like the Warriors.

Conclusions

Perplexing trade by the Warriors. I’m surprised, scrath that, I do not believe that the Warriors couldn’t have done better than this trade haul for Belinelli … and it’s a very poor trade by Golden State.

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.

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  1. a bit confusting how it’s an ‘excellent’ trade from TO’s perspective, but that he’s also a ‘lousy’ fit. i get that acquiring a talented player for a nothing like george is a good thing, but if said player is such a ‘lousy’ fit on the team he’s going to, then how can the trade be excellent?

  2. Side Note: If Belinelli’s acquisition comes at the cost of Carlos Delfino, it’ll hurt the Raptors badly next season.

    That’s primarily because of the rebounding differences between two — Belinelli = terrible + Delfino = excellent — which is a concern for the Raptors’ collectively. Over say 30 minutes of playing time, Belinelli would pull down 2.5rpg, while Delfino would haul in 5.5-6.0 rebounds a night. Delfino doubles up Marco’s rebounding production. That’s a huge difference for a team … especially one like the Raptors who have considerable rebounding concerns.

    Hey Yertu,

    I’d always rate a “something for nothing pickup” as very good to excellent. Furthermore, when that something is also a young prospect with potential … versus dead weight on a roster … that’s a huge bonus in my eyes.

    Even though Belinelli is a poor fit for the Raptors, I reckon he still offers about the same or slightly more to the team than Devean George next season. And that’s just in the short term, in the medium and long term Belinelli offers far more than George.

    Also, talent is permanent while fit is temporary. The latter can change to suit one’s needs.

  3. Dave, who do you think has the upper hand at SG in this already offensively rich starting lineup? I still think this team in is dire need of a starting SG who can help balance what looks to be a painful lack of defense and glass work. Delfino??

    I agree that Marco on this team would be best used in spot minutes as a gunner off the bench ala Kapono. At the very worst he gives us another promising backcourt prospect in addition to Derozan to go forward with. In any case, one of these two kids should be getting the shaft this season.

  4. totally agree – just found it a curious term to use, ‘lousy.’ i can think of lots of truly ‘lousy’ fits in the league, but belineli on the raps doesn’t strike me as such. i do agree that rebounding is their biggest weakness, and that’s not likely to change much (it’s been their bugaboo for years now), but i wonder if we’ve all come to overstate delfino’s overall contributions somewhat.

  5. Marco is young enough to still develop many aspects of his game. He can’t be considered a finished product by any stretch – as he’s only played in the equivalent of one season’s games. His success will likely be determined by his coachability – something unknown from his GSW experience.

    Agree its a great trade. Don’t know if its a great fit, yet. But Marco is a teamate of Bargs on the national team and that likely counts for something.

    Basicly a zero risk, high potential trade. What’s not to like?

    And maybe this opens up the possibility of going after a combo forward to back up Hedo instead of Delfino? A guy like Warrick should be relatively cheap and effective? Maybe a S&T for Kleiza? More moves to come?

  6. Yertu,

    I think Belinelli is a very poor fit because I think his lack of rebounding + defense hurt the Raptors more than his offense helps them. He is a good fit offensively though.

    In terms of fit — I think the most important attributes for any wing is rebounding + defense. The defensive end of things looks very difficult to fill due to limited options left in free agency, but their options (Delfino) to add rebounding there.

    Carlos Delfino

    #1 — I fully agree that Delfino has become over-rated amongst the Raptors faithful over the past 3-4 months … although I think that’s starting to cool down once everyone saw how much money he’d be demanding … but I actually think Delfino has become more important to the Raptors over the last few weeks because of the decision to give Bargnani a five year contract extension, to sign Turkoglu instead of Marion, and the decision to spend the MLE on Jarrett Jack.

    #2 — Interesting stats for Delfino

    Over the course of his final three years in the NBA … Delfino ranked third amongst all guards in rebounding rate behind Jason Kidd + Bonzi Wells.

    And if Delfino kept up his rebounding production from the previous two years (11-11.5% in rebounding rate), he would have ranked first amongst all guards in rebounding rate last season (Manu Ginobili ranked first at 10%).

    The guy is a phenomenal rebounder for a two guard and that’s something the Raptors need badly.

    #3 — Solely because of the impressive individual rebounding + the Raptors poor collective rebounding, I think Delfino could add a lot to the Raptors next season.

  7. I wouldn’t deem him a lousy defender. He is definitely a bad rebouder, especially comparing him to delfino, but Nellie also used him primarily to guard the likes of Kobe Bryant, Ray Allen and Kevin Durant. He’s not the quickest player but he plays like Garbaosa in the sense that he gets to where his man should be before he does.

    He’s a cheaper Kapono, with very similar offensive numbers, and is definitely a better defender than Kapono. So I don’t think they’re losing much in that respect.

  8. Hey Greg,

    Defense

    On the scale of things — very poor, poor, slightly below average, mediocre — I consider Belinelli a poor defender. I’d rate him as a 3.5 out of 10 sort of defender.

    Would you rate him higher than that defensively?

    His defensive stats — on court/off court + opposing PER — are fairly good. Golden State was better defensively with him on the floor, and he kept his opponent to an average PER mark. I don’t have a lot faith in those numbers holding up over time though.

    Rebounding

    As for rebounding, he’s very poor. Belinelli was one of only six two guards to post a rebounding rate of below 4.5% last season. He’s a terrible rebounder.

    Rebounding isn’t the most important attribute for a two guard, but it ranks highly on my priorities for the Raptors right now because of the lack of rebounding elsewhere on the roster. If Toronto had a better rebounding center than Bargnani, and some more rebounding from it’s other wings, then Belinelli’s lack of rebounding wouldn’t be important at all.

    Unfortunately, that’s not the situation and I do think it is a big problem for the Raptors. I think Belinelli’s very poor rebounding compounded with other player’s poor rebounding is bad situation for Toronto, and I think he’ll struggle to make up for that with his offense.

  9. Hello Jim, welcome to the site!

    Carlos Delfino would be my favourite for the starting position … well if he’s signed, if he doesn’t come over, then I think DeRozan should be the frontrunner for that spot.

    Antoine Wright adds the most defense to the Raptors starting unit but I don’t think he adds enough defensively (over-rated defender) to out-weigh his other flaws.

    Since there is no out-and-out backup small forward, I think Triano will be able to find minutes for everyone. Once Hedo Turkoglu gets his minutes (say 36 minutes), there will be about 60 minutes leftover on the wing to spread between Jack, Wright, Belinelli and DeRozan. I think Jack gets 15-18 minutes at the point and 10-12 minutes more at the two guard spot. Leaving 45-50 minutes to be spread between the other three players. If Delfino is signed though, someone is losing their minutes.

    Hedo Turkoglu, Demar DeRozan, and Jarrett Jack all look guaranteed to receive a good chunk of minutes. If Delfino is signed, he too will get minutes.

    From there I’d expect Triano to choose his remaining rotation player(s) based on matchups, with Wright getting more minutes when they need his defense and Belinelli getting more minutes when they need more of an offensive punch. I’d expect both Belinelli and Wright to get a decent amount of minutes, but not regular minutes, somewhat similar to what Belinelli went through in Golden State.

    Hello Steve, welcome to the site!

    It’ll be interesting to see how Belinelli develops from here. There was a lot of disappointment with his lack of development during his final year in Italy, and his rookie year in GSW. But he showed impressive improvement last season, especially with his questionable shot selection which helped him become more efficient offensively. Anyway, it’ll be very interesting to see where his career goes from here.

    Unfortunately, the Raptors don’t seem to have a whole lot of options for other moves. They have a little bit of their MLE leftover, about $1.4 million I think. They’ve spent their LLE on Rasho, so it’s minimum contract offers beyond that.

    Bryan Colangelo also appears to be fairly settled on his core players, and the trade options beyond those players look slim. The poor trade assets also make a sign and trade unlikely.

    Because of the limited options available to Colangelo at this point, I think Carlos Delfino is comfortably Colangelo’s best opportunity to make another impact signing.

  10. All this applies only if you assume Brian Colangelo is finished. I don’t. Delfino wants $5+ Million and 2+ years. Not in this economy and not for a $2.5 -3.0 Million BACKUP SF/SG.

  11. Three notes of interest:

    #1 – From Mike Ulmer’s blog, Ulmer says that Triano has already decided on DeRozan as a starter

    But where to put all the bodies becomes an issue. Highly-touted rookie DeMar DeRozan has already been given a starting spot according to coach Jay Triano. That sets up a scramble for Antoine Wright and Belinelli.

    I knew Triano had decided on using DeRozan in the regular rotation and to give him good minutes to develop with, but I hadn’t heard anything about the starting spot.

    #2 – Delfino isn’t likely to come now

    “The likelihood that he’s going to sign here is less,” Raptors president Bryan Colangelo said of Delfino. “Not only is he going to be leaving some money on the table in Europe, but one of the things that was attractive about coming here was that he’d have ample opportunity to play and maybe start and that doesn’t appear to be as open now.”

    That’s a major loss for the Raptors. I thought Delfino would add more to Toronto than any player outside of their top three/four players.

    #3 – Also, Colangelo has said it’s fairly unlikely the Raptors make any major moves between now and training camp

    Colangelo said there is the possibility of using Delfino in a sign-and-trade if he decides to leave his current team in Russia, but just as likely is that the Raptors won’t make any more significant moves between now and training camp.

    Appearently though, the Raptors are looking to add a minimum contract small forward to supply some depth at the position. The article, same one as the above link, named Joey Graham and Pops Mensah-Bonsu as possibilities.

  12. it is interesting if Jay has already decided that Derozan is the starter. Does Jay feel that having him in a pressure-free environment where he does not have to score would be more beneficial than coming off the bench against second unit players.

    If i were the coach i would, at the very least, have a competition during training camp. I understand the important of rookies playing minutes, but shouldnt they have to earn them too?

  13. I don’t think there’s anyone, really standing in DeRozan’s way of winning the starting two guard spot …

    Antoine Wright isn’t a good rotation player and shouldn’t be getting minutes on a squad with good depth, and Marco Belinelli is a fairly flawed player who’s flaws coincide with the team’s collective flaws limiting his impact further. I don’t see either guy putting up much of a challenge for that starting spot. Carlos Delfino could have, but he’s not going to be here by the looks of things.

    I think it’s pretty close to being a lock that DeRozan will be the second best wing behind Turkoglu next season.

    I think Jarrett Jack is the only player with enough quality to out-play DeRozan for those minutes, but I think he’s more useful coming in off the bench as a point guard and perhaps finishing games as a two guard alongside Calderon. The bench needs him as a stabilizer, as a leader for that second unit, someone reliable who’ll come in and give a solid performance night after night.

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