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PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2007 2:42 am
Nellie buzz on Belinelli: 'I think he's been sensational'


LAS VEGAS -- If Bay Area folks want reassuring signals regarding Don Nelson's willingness to keep coaching the Golden State Warriors, this is where they should look.

This is where Nelson can be found daily, watching three or four games in one sitting.

Belinelli has risen quickly in the eyes of Warriors coach Don Nelson.

This is where Nelson was seen and heard Monday night, laughing and huddling in the stands with Baron Davis as they took in a Kevin Durant show together.

This is where a Warriors rookie who was born to play in Nelson's system, according to Nelson himself, has generated more excitement than anyone at the NBA's sun-baked Vegas Summer League, Durant and Greg Oden included.

By now you've probably heard someone make the inevitable connection between Marco Belinelli and how his quick-trigger game is a Nellie Ball natural. Yet it should be noted that Nellie -- who has yet to publicly confirm that he'll back on the Warriors' bench next season -- is making that connection, too.

Told by one reporter that Belinelli has to be some sort of relative, Nellie chuckled and said: "I think it's going to work out real well for the both of us."

For starters, that would require Nelson to state his intention to return for the second year of a three-year deal in his second Golden State stint. Nelson refused again Monday to discuss his future, but sources close to the situation say that the 67-year-old wants his annual base salary of $3.1 million bumped to at least $5 million annually if he's to return for the next two seasons. Nelson made $5.1 million last season because of two $1 million bonuses, one for halting Golden State's 12-season playoff drought and another for getting the Warriors to the second round via their historic first-round upset of the 67-win Dallas Mavericks.

The Belinelli Factor, by contrast, is looking as solid as it can after a couple games at the Cox Pavilion on the UNLV campus. The Italian, taken No. 18 overall by the Warriors in last month's draft, announced himself with a stunning 37 points in Saturday's debut and followed that up Monday with 23 points in Golden State's 94-87 victory over Philadelphia.

"I think he's been sensational," Nelson said.

Belinelli didn't quite reach that stratosphere against the Sixers, needing 23 shots to get those points, but continued to play with a poise and fearlessness to back up the Warriors' claim that they just might have snagged the most NBA-ready rookie available.

He's not your typical foreign-born rookie, true. Given his considerable experience back home, in a league long regarded as Europe's strongest, Belinelli arrived as a much more polished product that most 21-year-olds. But his 5-for-8 shooting from the 3-point line Monday, after a 5-for-7 spree of triples in the 37-point game, is atypical early success from deep for an overseas kid making the transition to the longer NBA shot.

As a teenager in Italy who earned regular playing time at a younger age than 2006 No. 1 overall pick Andrea Bargnani did, Belinelli was said by his countrymen to be predestinato . . . destined for greatness. No one's putting his NBA prospects in that category -- certainly not until we see how this crafty 6-5 scorer adapts physically and defensively to the NBA game -- but the famously hyperbolic Nelson has already seen enough, after two July outings, to declare that Belinelli has the ability to compete for spot minutes at point guard as well as challenge Monta Ellis for the starting 2-guard berth left vacant by the deal that sent Jason Richardson to Charlotte.

"He shoots the shot you don't expect," Nelson said. "He shoots it a little late, or he shoots it a little quicker than the [defender] expects. He'll surprise you how he comes off screens or when he back-cuts you. He's very unpredictable offensively and that's what I like about him."

So much for the notion that unpredictable rookies are the scourge of coaches.

"This is one," Nelson said, "that doesn't make me nervous."

As for the notion that Nellie will ultimately decide he's not going to coach Belinelli . . .

"I'm worried, but at the same time I'm not worried," Davis said during a break from his unexpected appearance to see Durant.

"They'll figure it out. Everyone will play fair because it's a fair organization."

You can't forget that Davis himself is seeking a contract extension from the Warriors this summer. Yet when asked specifically if Nelson's role in the Warriors' historic late-season surge merits an increase in guaranteed money, just one season into his original contract, Davis insisted: "He deserves it."

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According to this, I think he has a chance to play lots of minutes from the very beginning of the season. That's great, as we all know Nellie won't play rookies if he's not confident they'll play up to his standards.
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2007 1:27 pm
Yeah, Nellie's really high on Marco. I heard his pre-game interview before they played Philly yesterday and he said a lot of inspiring stuff. The best thing I heard Nelson say was, "... put Belinelli in an NBA game right now and he can do some damage"
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2007 12:56 am
Belinelli has definately shown that he is capable of being special and the fact that Nelson already likes him alot does mean he will get to play alot right away. Really looking forward to Belinelli being a main contributor for the team. He could be a real steal
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2007 2:05 am
I have big expectations for him, starting with his rookie season. He won't be close to ROY, but I think he'll be able to earn his place in the rotation and become a contender for the all rookie team.

And that's more than any rookie has given us lately.
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2007 2:24 am
I just want him to fit in and contribute a fair bit but the way Nelson is talking, he might well get alot of minutes right away and that could mean all rookie team
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2007 11:09 am
TMC wrote:I have big expectations for him, starting with his rookie season. He won't be close to ROY, but I think he'll be able to earn his place in the rotation and become a contender for the all rookie team.

And that's more than any rookie has given us lately.

Its more than any rookie was capable of giving us lately.

You can't tell me Monta Ellis wouldn't have been on the All-Rookie team, if he got the playing time. Biedrins, O'Bryant, and Wright were all projects when they were drafted, so you're right about them though...
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2007 2:22 am
Monta may have been a good contributor his rookie season, but then again may not. What TMC is saying is that Belinelli might actually get the chance and likely contribute well
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2007 2:30 am
Remember, it is Summer League. Let's see if he does the same with NBA defenders.
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2007 2:33 am
I reckon Belinelli will actually be pretty good, likely having some super games and some real bad ones
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2007 10:25 am
JayPat wrote:Remember, it is Summer League. Let's see if he does the same with NBA defenders.

I don't care if you put Bruce Bowen on him; 67% from three-point-land is no joke.
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 16, 2007 12:14 pm
32 wrote:
JayPat wrote:Remember, it is Summer League. Let's see if he does the same with NBA defenders.

I don't care if you put Bruce Bowen on him; 67% from three-point-land is no joke.


Yeah. He's a good shooter (and becomes a great one at times... a bit streaky, but that's all). If anything he's gonna be a good offensive weapon for us. There will be games in which he'll play lots of minutes, and others in which he'll barely play. But that's what most rookies have to go through.
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 16, 2007 12:23 pm
Agreed. One of the advantages, too, is that Belinelli has absolutely no pressure on him. Its kinda like Matt Barnes was last year. Anything he gives us is gravy.
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 16, 2007 8:47 pm
32 wrote:Agreed. One of the advantages, too, is that Belinelli has absolutely no pressure on him. Its kinda like Matt Barnes was last year. Anything he gives us is gravy.



No pressure?
f Monta is kept, Belinelli will play a similar role to what Monta did last season, especially if baron gets injured yet again.
If Monta is traded, which looks certain to get Garnett, Belinelli could be the starting SG! Then he would have to be the real deal or the team is screwed. If he is a liability defensively and a streaky shooter that has off games it could criplle the team
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 16, 2007 8:48 pm
I like Belinelli and all, but I'd rather have Azubuike starting at SG they had to choose between those two.
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 16, 2007 10:14 pm
xbaywarrior wrote:I like Belinelli and all, but I'd rather have Azubuike starting at SG they had to choose between those two.



Still way too risky! No proven player at any one position as a starter is a huge liability
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