Child’s Play: Belinelli Makes It Look Easy
LAS VEGAS, July 7, 2007 -- Marco Belinelli is proof that not all big-name rookies suffer from a case of the jitters in their NBA debuts.
A day after the top two pupils from the class of 2007 received less-than-spectacular grades, Belinelli looked like the valedictorian of the NBA Summer League presented by adidas.
The forward, who was selected by the Warriors with the 18th pick of last week’s draft, scored with the type of simplicity normally reserved for fathers playing one-on-one in the driveway against their young children.
In a performance that is sure to be talked about for many summers to come, Belinelli lit up the Hornets defense for 37 points. He connected on 14-of-20 shots from the floor, including 5-of-7 from 3-point range, to help the Warriors earn a 110-102 win.
Yes, he made a couple of layups and dunks, but it was his straight-out-of-an-instructional-video jumper that left the New Orleans defenders helpless.
In a small bit of irony, the media surrounding him after the game wanted to know about a shot he missed rather than the 18 (counting free throws) that he made.
With 50.3 seconds left to play, Belinelli missed one of two foul shots. That was the difference between being tied for second for the highest scoring game ever in Vegas summer league history and being tied for first. Keith Bogans scored 38 as a member of the Magic in 2004.
“I was not aware of what the record was,” said Belinelli, who has played professionally for five seasons in Italy. “I wasn’t trying to get a record or anything like that.”
While his shooting obviously got all of the attention Saturday, Belinelli showed that he has other skills. He grabbed five boards and handed out a couple of assists in his 40 minutes on the floor.
“This was different than what I’m used to,” Belinelli said. “There wasn’t much defense. I like to play with a fast pace and I can also pass and rebound.”
The ease with which the game came to him was reminiscent of another foreign-born player: Spurs star Manu Ginobili.
One can only wonder how much more efficient Belinelli can become with Baron Davis operating the Warriors’ offense during the regular season.
Shortly after the game, Belinelli began climbing the bleachers in an attempt to chat with Golden State head coach Don Nelson.
He was stopped by a dozen fans who wanted the Warriors' new superstar to give them his autograph. After putting pen to pad, he finally made it to Nelson who had an ear-to-ear grin on his face.
It is only one game, but early returns say Golden State may have the steal of the draft.