It went wrong from the very beginning for Marco Belinelli
. Being probably the most expected player from the bunch that finally made it to the camp, he was the only one arriving late for the morning drills. And he's certainly not looking like the most enthusiastic guy out there, as if he doesn't really want to be here.
It's always surprising when a guy projected in the first round, or even on the bubble, shows up for a pre-draft camp. Not being a lock after a pretty disappointing season in Bologna (regardless of his scoring averages in the domestic competition), Belinelli still had very serious first round consideration. Actually his presence could be a nice indicator that he wasn't that much confident about his options of getting into the privileged round.
Yesterday's show couldn't have helped his cause, though. He had a horrible shooting day, reproducing his struggles during the season.
You can feel he's a special guy out there, like if he had a different status, a star status, from most of the players here (a bit like happens with Ponkrashov or Mbemba), and of course he doesn't shy away when it comes to shooting the ball regardless of his situation on the court. That was the biggest problem in yesterday's performance, his shot selection.
We already know Belinelli, he's capable of knocking down the wildest shots, but he's not consistent doing it, hasn't been all season long, and stubbornly continues trying off-the-dribble, unbalanced, one-legged impulsed fade-away attempts with little chances of success. Yesterday he only hit a couple of perimeter jumpers, not by coincidence two orthodox, balanced, and open shots.
Marco looked a lot better when he decided to put the ball on the floor to penetrate. He went a few times all the way to the basket, showing nice quickness and general athleticism, but also good ball-handling, footwork and ability to finish around the rim. Still, more often he settled for off-the-dribble passes, easily finding the open man, several times in the corner on the three-point line, greatly helping the offensive flow of his team.
You can see the great talent Belinelli enjoys, his excellent feel for the game, every time he attacks the basket. Actually he should be much more active in this area, even building his game from his slashing abilities and letting the perimeter shooting options come to him. Instead, he keeps shooting and shooting, regardless of his position, hurting his effectiveness on court.
Unless he dramatically improves in the remaining days of the camp, chances are he will opt to pull out and wait another year to increase his options of hitting the first round. If he decides to stay in, we were told that he has a $600,000 buyout in his contract.