Marco Bellinelli, the “italian stallion” or simply Rocky as many people like to address him, is expected to dubut tonight in his first match with the San antonio Spurs versus CSKA Moscow. He said in an interview with a famous italian newspaper that “the feeling with my new team and teammates is special. Also Gregg Popovich is a great person, very focus on basketball players trying his best to improve your game both offensively and defensively. But he’s not the kind of person who does not like joking, for istance he immeadiately made some pasta jokes with me.” Marco is also very excited to play with his hero when he was a kid: Manu Ginobili. Manu was the euroleague most valuable player at that time, when Marco was only 15 years old, in a period in which not anybody believed that a fiba area player could make such huge impact on the league. The NBA path for Marco has never been easy: great talent, great shooting, poor difense but good tecnique and atlethicism. The issue was that since day 1 in the league Marco knew the competion for a spot at shooting guard would have been very strong. So after finding himself in not very comfortable situations in both San Francisco and Toronto, and after two solid seasons as a pure shooter in NOLA, he eventually blossomed in Chicago. He developped in the player he is now: wiser, much more skilled in defense, better reading the offense, and playing a very good pick and roll. He still remains a great shooter, but he can be very helpful as a secondary ball-handler and pick and roll player even in a team with great ambitions as the Spurs. That is what I think Gregg Popovich saw, not just a mere three point shooter. He showed with the Bulls that he can be very reliable on running the offense entirely on him and on his usage of pick and rolls in a system that has been often in emergency missing many important players. Now we can figure out what Marco can do in a “perfect system” like the Spurs: believe me, it is going to be good!

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