Celtics sign “The Brazilian Blur” Leandro Barbosa

The Celtics bench just keeps getting deeper and deeper.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports has reported that the Celtics have signed 6’3″ combo guard Leandro Barbosa to a one-year deal for the upcoming season.

The 29-year-old played for the Indiana Pacers and Toronto Raptors, in a combined 64 games last season. He averaged a total of 12.2 PPG, while shooting 44 percent from the floor.

His best season came during the 2006-2007 season, where he averaged 18.1 PPG with the Phoenix Suns. Barbosa’s shooting was deadly as he shot 43 percent from 3-point territory and 48 percent from the field. His play earned him the NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award. Overall, for his nine year career he has averaged 12.5 PPG.

Barbosa earned his nickname The Brazilian Blur because of his speed and how he blows by defenders with flashy moves.

Analysis

So the move to release Dionte Christmas led to an opening in the back court and the Celtics signing Leandro Barbosa. This is a solid, low risk/high reward move. The Celtics get him at the league minimum, so they don’t have anything to lose if he stinks.

Anyways, after the surprising retirement of Keyon Dooling, the Celtics are left with Rajon Rondo, Jason Terry and Courtney Lee to anchor the backcourt.

However, until Avery Bradley returns from double shoulder surgery in December, the team doesn’t have anyone to back Lee up, as Terry is the defacto back-up point guard until then.

Here’s the bright side to Barbosa.

He brings amazing speed and sharpshooting ability to a team that already has many good shooters. He also has exceptional ball handling skills and I think that was an important factor with Danny Ainge bringing him in. Like the rest of the Celtics roster, Barbosa is versatile and can also play point guard where his ball handling skills would definitely shine.

Now with Bradley out for the time being, he could see 10-15 minutes a game. Once Bradley gets healthy though, Lee will be the first guy off the bench.

Ainge brought Barbosa in solely for depth, which is something Barbosa completely understands. He wants to win and Boston is the right place for that. For now though, he’ll provide solid scoring behind Lee. On any given night, Barbosa is capable of dropping 10-15 points when he plays a solid 20-25 minutes. He adds solid depth, and gives opposing teams something to think about when he and Rondo are putting defenses through hell with their speed.

Unfortunately, the downside is why was a talented player like him still a free agent a mere two weeks before the season starts?

For starters, his shooting was absolutely horrendous with the Pacers. After he was acquired from the Raptors, he shot just .399 percent from the field. In fact, it was worse during the playoffs.

How bad was it?

Barbosa was basically rendered useless against the Miami Heat during the Eastern Conference Semi Finals last year. He shot 32 percent from the field and didn’t make one single three-point shot. For a guy who prides himself on 3-pointers and shooting, his performance seemed like his career was reaching the end at a mere 29-years-old. Barbosa was no longer that guy who could put up 18 points a night like he did six years ago.

That’s why he was a free agent.

If he’s playing 20-25 minutes every night, then the odds of winning Banner #18 will be pretty slim. The goal for Barbosa is to be ready when Doc Rivers calls his name. As most knowledgeable sports fans know, a team can never have too much depth. Like Lee and Terry, he probably could start on most teams. However in Barbosa’s case, being on a team like the Celtics, he’ll be serviceable.

We’ll just have to wait and see.

Overall in the grand scheme of things, his job will be taking over for Marquis Daniels as the head cheerleading bench player.

Photo (cc) by Keith Allison and republished here under a Creative Commons license. Some rights reserved.

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