Sixers 2017-18 player evaluation: Marco Belinelli

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Sixers 2017-18 player evaluation: Marco Belinelli

Marco Belinelli

Position: Guard

Status for 2018-19: Unrestricted free agent

Belinelli in 2017-18
The Sixers signed Belinelli in February after the veteran guard reached a buyout agreement with the Hawks.

In 28 regular-season games with the Sixers, Belinelli averaged 13.6 points on 49.5 percent shooting, 38.5 percent from three-point range. He had a 112 offensive rating, the highest of any regular Sixer. His job was to ignite the Sixers’ offense off the bench, and he played that role about as well as you could ask. The Sixers had a 23-5 record in those 28 games.  

When Belinelli’s shot isn’t falling, however, he doesn’t provide much value, as the Sixers saw in the playoffs.

He was excellent in the first-round series against the Heat, averaging 16.6 points and posting 25 points in the Sixers’ blowout win in Game 1. He also didn’t look overmatched defensively.

The series against the Celtics was an entirely different story. Belinelli struggled with his jumper, posting 9.2 points per game on 34 percent shooting. And he was a major defensive liability, not quick enough or strong enough to hang with Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown or really anyone he matched up against.

As a side note, Belinelli was also an incredibly entertaining player to watch — he is the king of the tightly-contested, leaning, probably ill-advised yet supremely confident jumper.

Signature game
“The Confetti Game” was almost Belinelli’s signature moment. If he’d just been a step behind the three-point line on his baseline jumper at the buzzer instead of a step inside it, Belinelli would have been the hero of Game 3 against the Celtics. Unfortunately for him, all the confetti had to be swept off the court, and the Sixers lost in overtime.

Outside of "The Confetti Game," Belinelli’s debut may have been his best moment this season. He scored 17 points in the Sixers’ 104-102 win over the Heat on Feb. 14, including 13 in the second half, helping the Sixers erase a 23-point halftime deficit.

Looking ahead to 2018-19
Belinelli loves Philadelphia and he thinks he’ll be back next season (see story).

Ultimately, the Sixers will have to determine what he’s worth in free agency and whether his offensive spark off the bench is valuable enough to outweigh his defensive deficiencies. At 32 years old, Belinelli is what he is —  a potent bench scorer who you probably will need to hide on defense, especially in the postseason. 

Belinelli chose the Sixers after his buyout with the Hawks and wants to be a part of the next stage of the process, so he very well could stay in Philadelphia even if the Sixers don’t have the highest offer.

On Belinelli
"I think the firepower that we needed from somebody was provided by him. I give tremendous credit to Bryan Colangelo for making this happen. We gave up no assets to bring him in and we bring in somebody that can change a game like that.”

- Brett Brown on Belinelli after the guard's Sixers debut

Allen Iverson tears up remembering his friend Kobe and the one time they played as teammates

Allen Iverson tears up remembering his friend Kobe and the one time they played as teammates

Philadelphia 76ers legend Allen Iverson has shown his softer side since retiring from the NBA in 2010. While he was known for his hard-nosed style of play on the court during his heyday, he's become known more lately for the love he shows his NBA brethren and his big old hugs.

Whether he's talking about the current Sixers squad being his "little dudes" or his old rivals like Ty Lue, A.I. never has a bad word to say. He's a true ambassador of the game.

The Players' Tribune did a nice sitdown with Iverson over All-Star weekend and it's making the rounds again today thanks an ESPN bump.

While Iverson shared an incredibly heartfelt written remembrance of Kobe Bryant shortly after his death, as Sixers fans know, there's nothing quite like seeing the emotion in Iverson's face when he's feeling it.

Iverson talks fondly about the one time he got to play on the same team as Kobe in the 2008 All-Star game. 

"It was always a battle between me and him," Iverson said. "And then, having the chance to be on the same team with him..." 

"I mean, looking back on it, that was it. Just having the chance to play with my guy. Not knowing that would be the only time that I had a chance to play with him."

The two didn't see much action together in the 2008 game as Kobe was limited with a finger injury and only played three minutes.

Back when he was involved with the Big3 League in 2017, Iverson dreamed about a potential pairing with Kobe: "That would be a dream of mine to play with Kobe." 

It never happened, sadly.

Iverson went on to retell the story about Iverson going to the club and Kobe going to the gym which lead to the most poignant quote from the whole interview.

"That was the Mamba. He was younger than me, but I actually looked up to him and his greatness," Iverson said.

You can watch the full sitdown with Iverson on Perriscope here.

Sixers injury update: Ben Simmons (low back tightness) questionable vs. Nets

Sixers injury update: Ben Simmons (low back tightness) questionable vs. Nets

The Sixers appeared to be returning from the All-Star break relatively healthy.

So much for that.

All-Star Ben Simmons is questionable for Thursday’s game against the Nets with low back tightness. His status will be determined pregame, per a team spokesperson.

The only injury update that was given at Wednesday’s practice was that Joel Embiid would no longer be wearing a splint on his left hand. Embiid had surgery to repair a torn ligament in the ring finger of his left hand back on Jan. 10. He played in the All-Star Game with his fingers buddy taped.

Even Josh Richardson, who’s dealt with injuries to both hamstrings this season, said on Wednesday that he was feeling good.

Simmons has been one of the Sixers' most durable players. After missing his draft year with a broken foot, Simmons played 81 games his rookie season and 79 last year. He's missed just two games this season with a shoulder injury.

With the Nets in town, the Sixers could really use Simmons. He’s been playing at a Defensive Player of the Year level this season and Brooklyn boasts a dangerous guard duo in Spencer Dinwiddie and Caris LeVert.

With 27 games left in the regular season, the Sixers sit in fifth in the East. Health has been an issue so far this year and will likely be crucial to the team making a late push in the conference playoff picture.

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