Bulls player review: Marco Belinelli

May, 29, 2013
5/29/13
9:20
AM CT
Friedell By Nick Friedell
ESPNChicago.com
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Nick Friedell looks at each player on the Chicago Bulls roster and how they fit in for the future.

Marco Belinelli, Carmelo AnthonyBruce Bennett/Getty ImagesMarco Belinelli struggled to earn time early in the season but proved to be an integral part of the Bulls' playoff run.

Marco Belinelli


2012-13 salary: $1,957,000 | Age: 27 | Season stats: 9.6 ppg, 35.6 3-pointers

Season recap: Belinelli couldn't find a regular place in Tom Thibodeau's rotation to start the year but found his rhythm starting in December and became a key piece to a 45-win team. Belinelli shot with more confidence midway through the season and improved defensively to the point where Thibodeau didn't have as much hesitation about leaving him on the floor. Belinelli's confidence grew higher as his teammates gained even more trust in him and that paid off in the form of several crucial shots late in games for the Bulls.

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Season highlight: Belinelli had 24 points, including a few huge shots late, to help lead the Bulls past the Brooklyn Nets in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals. To watch him go from a player who couldn't find minutes early in the year to a player who wasn't afraid to take and make big shots late in playoff games was impressive.

Season lowlight: Belinelli received a DNP -- coach's decision during a game against the Milwaukee Bucks on Nov. 26.

Final grades: Regular season: B Postseason: B-

Notes: Belinelli was billed as a three-point bomber and better all-around player than Kyle Korver when he signed with the Bulls last summer. While Belinelli definitely improved throughout the year, he only shot 35.7 percent from beyond the arc.

Quotes: "I wanted to win this game so bad. I have never been to the semifinals, conference finals," Belinelli said after Game 7 in Brooklyn. "I'm going to be the first Italian guy that is going to play in the second round. I'm happy. I just love this team."

What's next?: The Bulls would like to re-sign him if the price is right but after the season he just completed, the veteran swingman figures to get more guaranteed money than the Bulls would be willing to offer.

Nick Friedell | email

Chicago Bulls beat reporter
Nick Friedell is the Chicago Bulls beat reporter for ESPN Chicago. Friedell is a graduate of the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University and joined ESPNChicago.com for its launch in April 2009.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Jimmy Butler
PTS AST STL MIN
20.2 3.2 1.7 38.7
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsP. Gasol 11.8
AssistsD. Rose 5.0
StealsJ. Butler 1.7
BlocksP. Gasol 1.9