Should Marco Belinelli remain the starter?

Should Marco Belinelli remain the starter?

It's not exactly Colin Kaepernick vs Alex Smith, but when Rip Hamilton comes back from his torn plantar fascia the Bulls will need to decide whether he should remain the starter or whether they'll go with Marco Belinelli.

There's typically an unwritten rule that you don't lose your job to injury, but neither Marco nor Hamilton are likely to remain on the team next season. Marco's playing on a one year deal, and the Bulls are expected to exercise the one million dollar buyout on Rip Hamilton's contract.

Given that there's no long term egos to smooth over here, the only thing that really matters is immediate performance. The bench has typically floundered this season, and we've seen that Marco's struggled to perform with a less offensive oriented unit. While playing with the starters, his performance has raised considerably.

Over the last three games, Belinelli has created shots as well as knocked down open jumpers. He's been able to knock down the mid range curl, create off the pick and roll, and hit the open three. Off the bench, his three point shooting eventually came around, but he wasn't finding much luck with the rest of his game.

He definitely has more room to work with as a starter as the defense will focus more attention on the rest of the team. As somewhere between the third and fifth best offensive option on the floor, he plays with more space around him than on the bench where he may be playing as the second option on the court.

How does Rip react to a bench role?

While Belinelli's playing much better as the starter, what would Rip do as a reserve? Rip and Belinelli seem to have fairly similar games in terms of what they expect the rest of the offense to do for them to get their shots off. Both guys look to run around screens and depend on ball movement to get quality looks.

There's probably just as much reason to expect Rip to run into some of the problems Belinelli did off the bench. It's also worth noting that Hamilton became a major locker room distraction in Detroit when he became unhappy with his role. You'd like to think on a new team, in a new role, that he wouldn't have the same built up emotional investment but who knows.

The Bulls need to be at least think about the potential downfall of Rip checking out on the team.

If Beli keeps it up, it's his job to lose

I suspect Tom Thibodeau will disagree, but I think if Belinelli continues his play that you keep him in the starting lineup. Both players can thrive off the additional space afforded by playing with better offensive players. Both players can run curls, knock down jumpers, and create a little bit off the dribble if given space.

In the end, it comes down to the three point shooting threat. Belinelli provides a legitimate outside shooting threat on the floor and helps create space for everyone else rather than simply thriving off the space others create for him. The Bulls need that more than they need Hamilton's ability to play in the post against shorter guards.


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  • I would hope Beli would be the starter since he is having a hot streak now and putting up good #s....BUT Tom is very stubborn as evident with how much he rode Bogans as his starting SG in the past.

    With RIP's age and a hot Beli, I hope that Tom starts Beli and has RIP coming off the bench and Butler subbing in for SG (behind RIP) and SF.

  • In reply to smiley:

    But this IS Thibs, so of course Rip will start again, and Belinelli will continue to be misused, just like Korver was the first year with the Bulls when Bogans kept starting.

  • Yes, RIP not starting in Detroit caused problems, but that is because he was the Alpha and that creates uncomfortableness with his teammates as well as him. That is not the case in Chicago. If he can't play a role-player here at his age then the Alpha of this team needs to help him...adjust.

  • In reply to 4zen:

    You're talking to the wrong guy...Thibs isn't 'alpha' enough to make the right move.

    Expect Belinelli to average 2pts and 10min off the bench again.

  • Hey Doug: Do you think CDR could help us out?

  • In reply to Go Bullz:

    No. CDR is a joke. There is a reason why he's not in the league.

    Even the Lakers preferred to keep Darius Morris and Ebanks over him.

  • In reply to Go Bullz:

    I liked CDR when he was coming out of college and thought he was a worthy second rounder, but he's had plenty of opportunities without capitalizing on them. I don't see what he'd do for us especially since he's not at a need position.

  • Good question Go Bullz about CDR! He has good size at 6'7" 210 and is listed as 25 yrs old. Moon is getting older he is 32, but the guy had, probably still have a bit of athletism and could still be a good defensive specialist off the bench but Butler is doing good in this role this year, and Brewer for us last year.

  • In reply to smiley:

    If there WAS a wing to get out there, it was Mikael Pietrus (defense+3pt shooting).

    But none of is matters since Thibs won't even give Butler more minutes than 15 now. Why get annoyed wing when we could just play Deng 46min every night?

  • I say you ride with Beli until he hits a brick wall again. We've seen one of the major problems of this year's bulls is they don't make enought 3pointers. It's starting to come around with 7 3s made last game and Belinelli helps to space the floor....The one thing you said was very true about the Bulls not bringing back either Beli or Hamilton since Gibson's 8.3 million contract starts to kick in(which pisses me off since they should dump hinrich's contract on the bucks and resign Beli or a better alternative for that 4 million). They might want to tangle Beli at the deadline to the NETS who are in furious win now mode to get Marshon Brooka......a cheapie contract for the next two years..we all know our beloved owner jerry goldbars loves low cost alternatives so showcasing Beli for trade at the deadline before Rose comes back could be good for the team. Of course the Bulls will hold on to Beli like they did to Ben Gordon since they love to give the fans false hope by making some noise in the playoffs before they go into their depression era cost cutting mode again...

  • In reply to Defense-Rebound13:

    The reason why brooks is not playing is because Avery wants to go with 'proven' vets like Bogans and Stackhouse. My guess is they don't want another player to sit on the bench when they could have a future asset like a pick instead.

    Bulls need to offer a 2014 1st (not this year's because we are worse and will have a better pick). But we are the Bulls, why try to get a future asset with potential when you could just let the season play out and let your assets walk?

    I would then trade Rip+Nazr for Dalembert. Skiles, like Avery, Thibs, and every other coach not named Popp, don't play their rooks and youngins, instead preferring to go the old vet route.

    Dalembert wants out cuz of he is lost in the shuffle with Udoh, Henson, Sanders, and Ersan.

    This will revitalize Taj, playing with nother 7 foot defensive shot blocker, and then we can replicate as close as possible the bench mob...

    C. Noah (Dalembert)
    PF. Boozer (Taj)
    SF. Deng (Butler)
    SG. Belinelli (Brooks)
    PG. Kirk (Nate)

  • In reply to YouBlewwIt:

    love the idea of getting dalembert, we should throw in kirk hinrich to sweeten the deal for the bucks and get back doron lamb. I'm not sure that could happen as john paxson and jerry goldbars would be in tears seeing their favorite player leave.

  • In reply to YouBlewwIt:

    How is failing to offer a 2014 1st for Marshon Brooks letting our assets walk away at the end of the year? Is that 2014 first going somewhere?

    Don't think the Bulls could do a Nazr + Hamilton for Dalembart trade because the trade would leave them with 12 players and not enough salary room to add a 13th due to the hard cap.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    Maybe I misspoke, but I didn't mean the pick would leave obviously.

    I was referring to Not moving Belinelli or Rip if there was interest by other teams.

    But good call with the Dalembert trade. I thought he was making $6mil, but he's making closer to $7mil.

  • In reply to YouBlewwIt:

    I like that idea. How do the salaries work out?

  • Just like Korver was being misused in his first season with the Bulls...He should have been starting as the SG next to Roose to stretch the floor to let Rose drive and finish/dish, Thibs up until Rip got hurt, was misusing Belinelli.

    After we signed Belinelli, everybody said he ws better because he had a better skillset, but I always countered with...this is Thibs and his offense, he only wants Belinelli to come off the bench to be a 3pt specilist....which is why Belinelli has been so bad so far.

    But we are seeing now why Belinelli is thriving and that's because he is given more wiggle room to play his style with the starters. He basically has a similar skillset as Rip, but once Rip gets back, he will start again, and Belinelli will return to his 3pt average off the bench.

  • What I'm going to say here now is aimed at the bitchy, prejudiced pigs that occupy the two Bulls blogs.

    (1) The Chicago Bulls have an undoubted leader and his name is Joakim Noah. It took the absence of Dereck Rose to drive home this point. Lunatics, I'm not talking about the best player. Rose is the best player, but the best player is not necessarily the LEADER of a team.
    What we've seen demonstrated here is that JOAKIM NOAH is the leader of this team. When Rose returns, Noah will still be the leader. The Coach knows this is true and will entrust Noah with this responsibility. There is no player on this team that embodies the coach more than Noah.

    (2) I'm afraid of no team, even in the absence of Rose, that takes the court against Bulls. With good coaching and maximum effort this Bulls team will be difficult to beat. I think they will take apart the Brooklyn Nets.

    That's it, now let's hear from the haters.

  • In reply to SlamDunk:

    How do you make a post about Beli vs Hamilton a soapbox to argue about people disrespecting Noah when his name hasn't even come up?

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    Doug, I think everyone else on this blog agrees with your statement.

  • It's really a shame. Our team is compiled of peaces forced together that really don't fit. I'm not gonna get into the details but this is how our team should look if management cared at all about competing....

    c. Asik/ anyone besides Muhamad
    pf. Noah/ Gibson
    sf. Deng/ Hamilton
    sg. Korver/ Butler
    pg. CJ. Watson/ Nate R.

    Boozer= Amnestied
    Basically it's the same team from last season minus Carlos Loser. Long story short if it aint broke don't fix it.

  • In reply to ajay708:

    If the Bulls had any basketball smarts, they would have Amnetied Boozer last year. Not only would we have has the money to pay Asik and keep Korver, but we would have actually had cap space or the MLE to sign another temp PF like Carl Landry (another work working banger, Chicago style, except with more offense.

    Also, Noah would start and Asik with come off the bench with Taj, along with Butler (Brewer), Korver, and Nate (but my guess is they were resigning Kirk anyway, so no start for Watson).

  • In reply to YouBlewwIt:

    I really don't understand the Bulls management way of thinking. They just need to get Paxson and his whole staff outta there.

  • In reply to YouBlewwIt:

    Amnestying Boozer wouldn't have given the Bulls cap room.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    I understand that, but I'm saying they should just amnesty him anyway because he doesnt fit in, and should have went over the cap and resigned both Taj and Asik. We was already a contender even without Rose. The Bulls are just cheap.

  • In reply to ajay708:

    It's not primarily about this year -- it's about the future. Asik would be getting $15 million just when the Bulls would have a shot at some top free agents, plus Mirotic. Of course, who the heck figured Asik would be playing so well? I do not recall a single post predicting that.

    For that matter, who figured Hardin would turn out so well? Or some of the 2nd tier players picked up by the Knicks? Talent evaluation is tough. Maybe someone at Houston is a genius at it! New York too.

    For that matter, who predicted that moving Bellinelli to starting would jump start his game? On the other hand, last year when Watson moved up to start, his game took a hit. Go figure.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    You're right...not if we matched Asik, kept Korver and Watson, but we would have had the full MLE (unless teams are only allowed to use one...and Rip was taking that spot)

  • I don't think Thibs will cut and change, Rip will come back into the starting lineup. The catalyst for a starting lineup change will be Rip being salary dumped at the deadline to get under the tax. However by that point Rose should be back and it will be Kirk who gets handed the SG spot.

  • this is the worst website ive ever been on. cant create an account with the email that is associated with my facebook but I can with the email i never use and is pointless. good luck with your shabby ass website.

  • It's a stupid problem to have. The Bulls haven't had a starting caliber shooting guard since Ben Gordon for crying out loud. Rip has aged out of being a starter, though he was a very good one in his prime. Marco's game isn't complete enough to be a starter.

    O.J. Mayo had 40 points on Saturday. Just sayin'

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