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Q&A: Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress on Marco Belinelli

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Up next in our conversation with President of DraftExpress Jonathan Givony is the Warriors' Italian rookie sharpshooter Marco Belinelli. Make sure to flip back for our Q&A about Brandan Wright with Jonathan too.


Does Jonathan think Marco will be a lights out shooter in the NBA?
Is Marco a good fit for the Warriors' steal happy defense?
(Photo: Jordan Murph-

Use your leapers to make the jump for the Q&A!


Golden State of Mind: Last season in the Euroloeague Marco Belinelli struggled from long distance and only hit 32% of his shots from downtown. Additionally, he only hit 33% of his 3 point shots in the Italian league. However this past Vegas Summer League Belinelli looked like a lights out shooter with a sweet Ray Allen-esque quick release and ability to come off screens. Many NBA coaches, scouts, and analysts were singing his praise. How do you project Marco's long range shooting against NBA competition? Will he be a 3pt force or a struggling, high volume outside shooter?

Jonathan Givony (DraftExpress): Great question. Belinelli is indeed a lights out shooter. He has NBA 3-point shooting contest winning potential even. The problem is he's incredibly streaky. He's a guy that can bury a team with a barrage of 3's in just a few minutes (like we saw in the summer league) or really shoot you out of a game because he simply has no conscious when it comes to his shot-selection. He also doesn't help himself with the degree of difficulty of most of his shots (off his back-heel, throwing in a crazy off the dribble step-back, etc). He's not just a catch and shoot guy, which is good, but sometimes you wish he would keep things more simple--which would obviously help his percentages.

He had a rough year in Italy last year. His team was awful, and everything around them was a mess. They went through three coaches and two general managers. Players kept coming in and out. Guys weren't being paid on time. No chemistry whatsoever in the lockerroom (kinda like the Italian national team this summer...hmmm). Their sponsor even left them this summer--they are no longer called Climamio Bologna, it's now Upim Bologna. Shooters need confidence, and all that mess around the team surely didn't help him. The fact that so much of the offense went through him probably wasn't a healthy thing either--he's much better suited as a 2^nd or 3^rd option type, not having to feel like he's the go-to guy, which is where he gets in trouble.

I think that Belinelli is a good fit for Nellie's offense, especially now with so many minutes being freed up at the swing spots. There is going to be a transition for him to be made, but just having the green light in such an up-tempo system is going to help him a lot I think. He already has NBA range. He still has a lot to work on, so it's really up to him to decide how good of an NBA player he wants to be. You can only project so much.

Golden State of Mind:
A lot has been made of Marco Belinelli's offensive prowess, but there's a whole other side to basketball, namely defense. From his draft profile, it appears that he's already a solid defender because of his lateral quickness and length. Has this become an overlooked part of his game because of the attention paid to his offensive prowess? How is he going to fit into the Warriors' active defense and do you think he will be able to make the adjustment?

Jonathan Givony (DraftExpress): I don't think this part of his game has been overlooked. Belinelli was once considered an excellent defender, but as his role offensively grew, along with his status in Italy (and thus, his ego)--his defense fell off a cliff. Most European coaches I talked to called him a liability at the Euroleague level, even if he does have potential here due to his length and quickness as noted. The problem is the NBA is a lot more physical than Europe, and Beli isn't the strongest guy in the world as you probably noticed.

I think he'll fit perfectly into Golden State's defense, because like everyone on the Warriors, he doesn't play any defense. Just messing there...he can be disruptive in the passing lanes and putting pressure on the ball, which is important in Nellie's system, I know.

He really is like all the Warriors in one aspect, though, and that is his rebounding ability, which is absolutely non-existent. I'm not really a big believer in teams that can't rebound, which is why I wasn't very high on Brandan Wright and why I'm not really sold on Golden State making the playoffs again this year.

Golden State of Mind:
Belinelli has been touted as having good handles and court vision. Is Bellinelli also an insurance policy at the point guard position? Although he's been tagged as a "pure shooter," from what you have seen or heard, do you see him as also a viable distributor and team leader at the NBA level? What kind of assist:turnover ratio can we expect from him this season and beyond once he gets more acclimated to the NBA scene?

Jonathan Givony (DraftExpress): One of Belinelli's biggest weaknesses in my mind (besides his shot-selection and matador defense) is the fact that he really doesn't put the ball on the floor at all--he's almost strictly a jump-shooter. That's not because he doesn't have the ball-handling skills or athleticism, but more because of the fact that he's just soft.

With that in mind, my answer to your question would be my mind he's not really an option at point guard, at least not in the NBA. He doesn't have anything resembling a point guard's mentality, he's more of a gunner than anything really. I would guess his assist to turnover ratio would be somewhere around 1.5/1 or so. He's not very turnover prone because he's not a dumb player (in terms of making unforced errors), and also he doesn't really risk a lot of turnovers with his slashing. He's really mostly a finisher, not so much a creator.


My biggest worry about Belinelli logging significant minutes this season was whether or not his defensive ability was up to par. It's good to hear Jonathan thinks that Marco will fit right in with the Warriors' crazy turnover inducing D that leaves opposing team's coach's heads spinning. Also, wouldn't it be cool to see a Warrior reppin' the Bay in the All-Star 3pt contest? Maybe both him and Al Harrington could take 1st and 2nd place. The Warriors.... FROM DOWNTOWN!

Don't forget to check out Marco Belinelli's DraftExpress Profile

We've still got Stephane Lasme and some of Jonathan's analysis of the NBA 2k7 Draft Class coming up!