Update: Belinelli confirmed he will participate in the NBA's All-Star 3-point shoout.
He told La Gazzetta dello Sport, via Sportando, "I am happy because it is very important to me, my fans and Italy. It is going to be a step forward in my career. I go to New Orleans to win."
This is Belinelli's first 3-point shootout. He is the second Italian to participate — Danilo Gallinari is the other.
San Antonio Spurs' Marco Belinelli leads the NBA in 3-point percentage — he's made 70 of 145 3-pointers (48.3 percent), and only 40 of his attempts are from the corners, the most efficient spot to take a 3-pointer.
It's almost as if Belinelli's efficiency rises the farther he's away from the basket.
The NBA will likely award Belinelli's sharp shooting with a spot in the All-Star 3-point shootout according to Eric Pincus. Stephen Curry, Kevin Love, Kyle Korver and defending champion Kyrie Irving are reportedly joining Belinelli.
"The pool for the three-point shootout has yet to be named but the early list, subject to change, includes Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors), Kevin Love (Minnesota Timberwolves) and Marco Belinelli (San Antonio Spurs) representing the West."
Belinelli's previous career-high was 41.4 percent, nearly eight percentage points lower than this year.
Belinelli was an above-average 3-point shooter heading into the season — would the Spurs have signed him otherwise? — but he's turned into a NBA 2K player shooting on rookie mode.
So, what gives?
Playing with Manu Ginobili helps. Ginobili has assisted on 34 of Belinelli's 186 field goals and the Spurs have scored 118 points per 100 possessions when the "Super Sub Bros" share the floor — a whopping eight points better than Portland's top-ranked offense.
Belinelli also can function as a secondary scorer. Gregg Popovich inserted Belinelli in the rotation for that very reason — to leverage his skills against the opposing defense. A safety valve for Tony Parker, if anything. He is much better than Green at, well, dribbling and creating points off the dribble. Defenses can't simply contain Parker and live with whatever Green creates (probably a turnover). Belinelli packs a much-needed off the bounce punch.
You know, like a spicy meatball.