NBA Free Agency 2012: Should New Orleans Hornets Retain Marco Belinelli?

Tom FirmeAnalyst IIJuly 10, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 22:  Marco Belinelli #8 of the New Orleans Hornets scores on a drive in front of Kenyon Martin #2 and DeAndre Jordan #6 of the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center on April 22, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

The New Orleans Hornets have had an exciting offseason. The Hornets netted two hot prospects in the early first round of the draft in Anthony Davis and Austin Rivers. On Sunday, New Orleans acquired Ryan Anderson from the Orlando Magic. Next, Hornets fans could see the franchise match the Phoenix Suns' maximum offer for Eric Gordon.

Amidst all the excitement about the Hornets' moves, one move Hornets fans shouldn't expect is the re-signing of Marco Belinelli.

Belinelli was a nice contributor for the Hornets in 2011-12. He led the team in total points, but that was because each of the four players ahead of him in scoring average for the team missed 19 or more games. He hit 37.7 percent from three-point range and had a nice 105 points per 100 possessions.

However, his offense is quite replaceable. Belinelli was fifth on the Hornets scoring average (11.8 points per game) and despite playing just 29.8 minutes per game, he was sixth in per 36 scoring (14.3). Also, his shooting wasn't at all efficient, as he needed 10.4 field goal attempts per game to attain 11.8 points per game.

Also, with Belinelli being one of only three players to play all 66 games, he should have been better than third in offensive win shares (1.9) on the lteam. Carl Landry played just 41 games and a little more than half as many total minutes as Belineli, but he had 0.3 more offensive win shares (2.2).

Hence, Belinelli did less for the Hornets offense than a reserve who missed 38 percent of the season.

Overall, Belinelli's No. 6 spot on the team in win shares per 48 minutes out of 11 players who played 40 games shows that he's interchangeable.

In addition to Belinelli's pedestrian numbers, he would be in the midst of a crowded backcourt. Rivers comes in as an electrifying scoring prospect who could become a top-flight scorer. He's immensely creative on offense and can score inside and out.

That Belinelli would be behind Rivers on the depth chart is indubitable.

With the Hornets gearing up to match the Suns' offer for Gordon, as David Aldridge tweeted, Belinelli would be guaranteed to be No. 3 on the 2-guard depth chart.

That's surely too low for someone who made $3.38 million in 2011-12 and would want more with the market for his services. Ken Berger of tweeted that some teams looking for 2-guards, such as the Dallas Mavericks, are looking at Belinelli.

If the Mavericks or another team offers Belinelli more than what he made in his fourth pro season—or even something similar to it—then they have no reason to outbid that team. He's not good enough to stand out on offense. His skill set is in no way comparable to that of either 2-guard likely to be on the Hornets next season.