Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Celtics to sign Leandro Barbosa ... and that's fine.
By Andy Kamenetzky
Why a headline in this neck of the woods regarding news about the enemy?
Because Los Angeles Lakers fans have inquired throughout the offseason about the Brazilian Blur landing in L.A. A lot.
After all, Leandro Barbosa is a "name," and fans are often gaga for any free agent of name value. He has experience playing alongside Steve Nash (albeit several seasons ago in a very different system.) The Lakers bench was often painfully devoid of scoring last season, and Barbosa is -- perhaps literally -- nothing if not a scorer. And Lakers fans are nothing if not greedy, and in turn demand a roster of notables from Kobe Bryant downward. (This summer has only further warped any sense of grounded reality.) Thus, I imagine there will be members of the Laker Nation disappointed to see Barbosa heading to the opposite coast.
Personally, I don't think the team will miss Barbosa's services.
Obviously, Barbosa isn't without any value as a player, but I don't think he's a particularly great for this team, nor does he immediately fill any pressing needs. For starters, despite popular belief, Barbosa is not an upgrade over Steve Blake or Chris Duhon at the backup point guard, because he's not a point guard. He's a shooting guard often incorrectly described as a "combo guard" because of a stint several years ago backing Nash, after which it was eventually decided he's better utilized at the two. At his peak, Barbosa has averaged four assists a night, and below three for his career. The man largely creates shots for himself. And while he certainly can score and hit an outside shot, with the bench at full strength -- Antawn Jamison as sixth man, Jordan Hill healthy and either Pau Gasol or Dwight Howard in the middle -- I don't think points will be nearly as hard to come by this season. In the meantime, the guy is a horrible defender. Wretched. "You might actually pine for Ramon Sessions along the wing" bad.
At the end of the day, Barbosa strikes me as a net "neutral" addition, neither worth the negatives accompanying his game, nor the inherent complications for Mike Brown as he tries to create a rotation. At some point, there's such a thing as too many options and not enough clarity.
In any event, I don't think the Lakers really missed the boat, but either way, this development is ultimately happy news because it means our readership and Tweeps will stop peppering us with 24/7 questions about Barbosa. From here, a team needs to offer Kenyon Martin a job and we'll really be in business.