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Belinelli not perfect, but a nice fit


To hear people talk about Marco Belinelli, you'd think the Raptors had just acquired the second-coming of Vinnie (Microwave) Johnson.

Belinelli is an upgrade over Devean George, but any player who is young and has anything that remotely resembles an upside is better than the eroding veteran.

Let's face it: George's best days are behind him and Belinelli has nothing but the future to look forward.

Belinelli addresses a need because he can shoot the basketball and can beat defenders off the dribble in certain matchups.

To think this guy has the handle to run an offence is the stuff of pure fiction.

Belinelli is coming off a season in Golden State where he averaged almost as many turnovers (1.40) as he did rebounds (1.7).

He averaged about 20 minutes and close to 9.0 points, all in a losing environment.

The Raptors have coveted this guy for years because he fits the team's mould. He torched Toronto last season by going off for 23 points, but then again he wasn't alone in lighting up the defensively soft Raptors.

Belinelli posted a career-high 27 points in a loss to Atlanta by taking 21 shots, including 10 heaves from beyond the three-point arc.

His defence is suspect and his shot selection, at times, is questionable.

The kid is 23 years old and when one watches Belinelli shoot the basketball, his form is clinical. But people in this market should be more realistic and objective when it comes to his impact as a Raptor.

He has the potential to spread defences because he has the potential to make perimeter shots. The wise move for the Raptors would have been to address defence, rebounding and toughness, the tenets of basketball that produce long runs in the post-season.

Belinelli addresses neither.

The fact the Raptors acquired Belinelli from the Warriors for basically cash is commendable.

Almost by default, Belinelli becomes a rotation player because there isn't much shooting coming off the bench.

In the euphoria of the Raptors' off-season makeover, which has been stunning and wisely orchestrated, a move such as Belinelli's acquisition has received far too much attention and far too little inspection.

The bottom line with Belinelli is that he's a depth player with question marks.

To suggest anything else would be foolish.


Vince Carter was the face of the Raptors at a time when the franchise was foundering with no identity.

The team's ownership and management coddled Carter to the point where Vinsanity had a say in personnel matters.

It has often been argued that Carter is the perfect second option, a role he'll assume this coming season when he teams up with Dwight Howard in Orlando.

During a break from his basketball camp in New Jersey, Carter told reporters he was looking forward to not shouldering the mantle of a franchise player.

"If you think about it, I never really said: 'This is my team,'" Carter said of his time as a Net, which included playing with Jason Kidd. "I said: 'I'm going to help this team win.' When I first got here, it was Jason's team.

"I just want to help make (Orlando) better. He (Howard) can be the face all he wants. My concern is getting wins. I kind of leave that for people to say or debate on. I think for me, it's: 'Can Vince come in and do his part for the Orlando Magic?' That's my goal."


Too bad Jamario Moon won't be suiting up as a Raptor this season.

The guy still has his flaws, but Moon's ability to defend the perimeter and his athleticism are welcome attributes. In Cleveland, Moon has found the perfect team because his talents are tailored for the Cavs' needs.

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