Another trade: Marco Belinelli

You got to give it up for Bryan Colangelo, right after the season ends, he mentioned there will be lots of changes, and lots of change it is. They have wanted Belinelli ever since he was drafted, so it’s no surprise they finally got him. The price is amazingly cheap, as they pretty give up nothing (Devean George) + cash. Apparently, the cash is to help paid most of George’s contract for this year.

The Raptors got a guy who can shoot and handle the ball. He is a capable passer, can play PG if necessary, and a pesky player. His defense is not great, but that could be because he is playing Golden States, where playing defense is only a rumor. In fact, I watched the game he played against the Celtics, he was defending against Pierce, and Allen all game, and did a reasonable job at it (while trash-talking against KG). The Warriors won the game, and Belinelli certainly contributed in that game. While he isn’t very athletic nor quick, maybe he will be motivated playing with his countrymen. Let’s put it this way, we are not getting a game changer, but he should be a decent role player and with room to improve at age 23. You really can’t do much better when you consider that the only thing the Raptors gave up was Devean George.

There are a couple of questions after the move was made:

1) What about Delfino?
My gut feeling is that the Raptors have a 1 year deal on the table for Delfino to come back and play. So having Belinelli there, is an insurance in case they can’t get Delfino to sign. It’s not like there is another NBA team knocking on Delfino’s door, so if Carlos wants to play in the NBA, I don’t see him having much choice.

2) Who is the backup SF?

As of right now, it will be Antoine Wright and DeMarr DeRozan. I actually think DeRozan should play there in his first year. Currently, DeRozan doesn’t have a lot of range on his jumper and playing SF should mask that weakness a little. He is definitely athletic enough to play there. If I am Jay Triano, I will ask DeRozan to focus on defense and rebounding, especially the latter, since this is what the team needs the most.

If Delfino re-signs, then he could also contribute in that spot; if not then the Raptors could take a look at a number of players with minimum contract. Three guys come to mind, 1) Rodney Carney. Very Athletic swing man, who can play D. 2) Ime Udoka. Udoka is a good defender who can knock down open shots. 3) Linas Kleiza. This one is less likely since he could get more than that in Europe.

3) Is Belinelli our starting SG?
I am not in favor of this. Having Calderon and Belinelli there on D could be pretty painful. We have enough scorers in our starting lineup, I would put Wright there instead. Belinelli can come off the bench and he could play with Jack; they could alternate in terms of ball-handling duties.

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