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February 10, 2018

Sixers to sign veteran guard Marco Belinelli

After a lot of noise spread about possibly trading for Tyreke Evans, the Sixers stood pat at the NBA trade deadline and kept their big assets to spend another day. But they will be getting some help following the close of trade season, and it comes in the form of another bench shooter.

The man on the way is veteran wing Marco Belinelli, a 31-year-old Italian in his 11th NBA season. That was the word from ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski late Saturday night, who says Belinelli will sign with the Sixers after he presumably clears waivers on Monday.

While I'd usually do my due diligence and ask a few team sources whether they could confirm, this is about as concrete a follow-up as you're going to see:

Let's start with the good news: Belinelli has been an above-average shooter for the duration of his career, making 37.7 percent of his career attempts from deep. He's right around his career average this year, knocking down 37.2 percent of his threes on the most attempts he has ever had in his career.

It's a much-needed skill for the Sixers, particularly for a bench group bereft of floor-spacing. Being able to bring him off the bench alongside other questionable or non-shooters like Trevor Booker or Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot will allow them to continue generating offense when their core group hits the bench.

You can think of him as sort of a poor man's JJ Redick, in that the Sixers can use him to run some of the same staple plays on offense. Belinelli is a passable handler in pick-and-rolls, and he can run some of the two-man game the Sixers run with Embiid from the elbow, either serving as his safety valve on a post-up or using the center's gravity to get a look closer to the basket.

But I would caution about getting too exuberant over this signing. Belinelli is not a good defender, and his effort comes and goes depending on the situation. He is making a leap from a bad Atlanta team to one with playoff aspirations, and Brett Brown has proven capable of coaxing max effort out of most guys he's had in Philly, so perhaps that concern is minimized here. If so, more shooting will do plenty to help their bench.

Still, it would be nice if the Sixers could get some guys on the floor who are a little more advanced at creating shots for themselves than others, and if you haven't loved the Jerryd Bayless experience I don't think Belinelli is necessarily going to be your favorite player. He's prone to some baffling shot selection and decision-making, so you have to bank on him making an impact almost exclusively as a shooter.

All things considered, Belinelli is a resoundingly okay signing. He's not going to change the team's outlook this year, but he gives Brown another option to turn to and adds more competition on the wing. Snagging a real impact guy was never happening post-deadline, and this is about as good as it was going to get. 

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