Monday, March 11, 2013

Obscure NBA Player of the Week: Marco Belinelli

Each week at Volume Shooters, we highlight an NBA player, past or present, who doesn't spend much time in the spotlight but is nonetheless a valuable cog in his team's quest for the championship. Thanks to our readers for the suggestion of this week's Obscure NBA Player.

Pop quiz: there are three current NBA players who were born in the beautiful country of Italy (not including Kobe Bryant, who spent a number of years there but was in fact born in Philadelphia). Two of these players, Danilo Gallinari and Andrea Bargnani, are fairly well known - the former for knocking down clutch shots this year and the latter for being lustily booed by his home fans for recent terrible play. But who is the third player? This guy:

No, not Sylvester Stallone, but Bulls shooting guard Marco Belinelli! Here's what you need to know about Marco.

Country of Origin: Italy

Vitals: 6'5" / 195 lbs (or, again, 1.95m / 88 kg for our international audience - the Teletovic feature got us our first Bosnian pageview this week!)

Position: SG

Nickname: Believe it or not, while a member of the Golden State Warriors, his teammates gave him the nickname "Cookie Monster" because of his love for American cookies. Supposedly, he ate so many his first year in the league that he gained almost 10 pounds! Sounds like he and Eddy Curry would have gotten along pretty well...

Do you know the muffin man...the muffin man...the muffin man?

Career Arc: Belinelli spent 5 years playing for Virtus Bologna and Fortitudo Bologna in the Italian A-league, winning the MVP of the Italian Supercup in 2005 at age 19. After being drafted by the Warriors with the 18th overall pick in the 2007 NBA draft, he immediately made a name for himself by scoring 37 points in his first Summer League game. However, playing for noted rookie-hater Don Nelson, he appeared in only 33 games his first year, averaging under 3 points a game. Belinelli was traded twice, scoring a career high 11.8 PPG last season with the Hornets before signing with the Chicago Bulls in the off-season. Throughout his career, he has been known as somewhat of a one-dimensional shooter, sporting a career 39.1% mark from beyond the three point line...and career numbers if 1.8 RPG and 1.4 APG. Alrighty then.

Buck-est Belinelli Mixtape Available on YouTube:

Despite the quality on this video being so bad it looks like it was shot with a paper towel tube-camera, Belinelli's Italian fans really step up to the plate to give us this 8-minute mixtape consisting primarily of garbage time highlights from his two Warriors seasons. Also featured: lots of shots of a young Sly Stallone, hilarious usage of PowerPoint's fade in-fade out effects, "Eye of the Tiger," and a towel-waving, dancing Andris Biedrins. Interesting that he appears to be playing point guard here as he has since shifted much more into a shooting guard role with the Bulls.

Notable Moments in his NBA Career: Belinelli hadn't done too much in the league until this year, when in the span of one week he hit not one, but two game winning shots late in the game. The second highlight is especially awesome. "I LIKE MY MEATBALLS SPICY!!!"

Will he ever make the big time? You could argue that he already made it seeing how he is getting crunch time looks for a solid playoff team in the Eastern Conference. Of course that will likely change once Derrick Rose returns, but Belinelli is still a valuable piece for a Bulls team that pretty much spends whole games running the "Clogged Toilet" offense without Rose around. Will the cookie monster fade back into NBA obscurity once Chicago's MVP point guard comes back, or will he be cookin' up some spicy meatballs deep into the playoffs this year? Only time will tell.

Please submit comments, questions, and recommendations for next week's Obscure NBA Player to

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