In the first ten games of the regular season, Leandro Barbosa has no doubt been the most surprising and impressive player so far. He was signed very late into the preseason, and according to reporters he still doesn’t know many of the plays, yet he’s been one of the most productive players off the bench the last few games. On opening night in Miami, Barbosa supplied 16 points in the fourth quarter, going 3 for 3 from the three point line. Not only has his offense awarded him time off the bench, he’s also become the go-to guy to backup Rajon Rondo.
With Avery Bradley still out after having offseason shoulder surgery, Barbosa has filled in and given Boston energy in Bradley’s absence. When Barbosa was first signed, many people didn’t think he’d get many minutes being behind Courtney Lee and Jason Terry, but he has proven us wrong. Barbosa’s contributions have exceeded many Celtics fans expectations, but also he’s stepped in as Rondo’s backup which no one expected before the season.
It’s not just Barbosa’s offense that’s been big for Boston, his defense has been spectacular. He’s obviously bought into Doc Rivers philosophy of playing since Barbosa is not known as a defensively oriented player. He’s come in with the right mindset and just plays on both ends of the court which will make him a fan favorite in Boston.
When Avery Bradley returns, I hope to see the Celtics keep Barbosa in the main rotation. Rivers can go with different looks in the backcourt: If he wants offense, he can go with Terry and Barbosa, and if defense is needed, a quick Avery Bradley and Courtney Lee will give opponents many problems on both ends. One thing is for sure, Celtics fans don’t need to worry about finding a backup for Rondo, Barbosa and company have got it covered.