It was a surprise when the Celtics announced the release of Dionte Christmas, a guard who shined in the NBA’s summer league and signed a partially guaranteed deal with the team shortly after.
But it made a little more sense once the C’s announced the signing of guard Leandro Barbosa, a nine-year veteran and former Sixth Man of the Year award-winner.
The 29-year old Barbosa joins a stacked guard unit already consisting of Rajon Rondo, Courtney Lee, Jason Terry, and Avery Bradley (when he returns from injury).
The C’s lacked a true backup point guard to Rondo after Keyon Dooling retired.Doc Rivers hinted in the past that the C’s needed to address the issue, and while Barbosa isn’t exactly a “true” point guard, he’ll get the job done.
So what does Barbosa bring? Well, like Terry, he’s instant offense. Allowing Barbosa to man the point will free up Terry to play at shooting guard. Those two with Jeff Green, Brandon Bass, and Chris Wilcox/Darko Milicic make up a second unit that could compete with some team’s first units.
No longer will the offense stall once the starters rest.
For his career, Barbosa averages 12.5 points on 46 percent shooting from the field including 39 percent from 3-point range. He’s a true bench spark, having never started more than 18 games since his rookie season despite averaging about 25 minutes per game.
Last year, he was traded from the Raptors to the Pacers and saw his minutes reduced from 22.5 to 19.8. Don’t expect to see minutes that high for him in Boston, assuming players are healthy.
With Rondo on the court anywhere from 38-42 minutes, that’s only going to leave about 10 minutes for Barbosa. Of course, he could see some extra time at the other guard spot, but look for Terry to assume most if not all of those minutes.
Either way, the C’s addition of Barbosa is yet another genius move by Danny Ainge in an offseason that should line him up for the GM of the Year.