Dionte Christmas and Jamar Smith are out. Enter Leandro Barbosa, a nine-year NBA veteran combo-guard who knows how to push the ball north and south – and suddenly, improbably, the Boston Celtics are a deeper and better team than they were a mere twenty-four hours earlier.
I’ll let the blogs that take themselves far to seriously give you Barbosa’s NBA pedigree. I know all of that. I know his career PPG average, I know his career APG average. Boring. Let’s talk instead about what Barbosa means to a Celtics back-court that is suddenly one of the most crowded in the league. You’ve got Rondo. You’ve got Courtney Lee. You’ve got prime time player Jason Terry coming off the bench. (For now.) You’ve got an injured Avery Bradley working hard to get back on the court. And now you’ve got Barbosa – think Mickael Pietrus with more speed and athleticism and a better handle with the ball, and you begin to get the idea.
I’ll take that signing any day of the week. The Swiss Army Knife of NBA teams suddenly have another gadget to throw at the league’s elite in its quest for an 18th NBA Championship.
Suddenly, the Celtics back-court is so deep that Doc Rivers should be able to keep his guard rotation fresh throughout the 82 game grind that is the regular season. Imagine what that will do for the Celtics’ playoff prospects.
And suddenly, the back-court is as deep as the front-court. There you have interchangeable pieces in abundance, such as swapping Jeff Green for Paul Pierce, or Brandon Bass for Jeff Green, or Jared Sullinger for Brandon Bass, or…
You get the picture.
Only question is, can Doc make it all work?
Are there too many cooks in the kitchen?
Can he figure out a substitution pattern that keeps everyone engaged and ready to play when called upon?
My guess is a resounding yes. Rivers is one of the best coaches in the biz, and he’s definitely at the top of the list when it comes to managing personnel.
So the Barbosa signing is huge, IMHO. We may not have what the Lakers have in Kobe, Dwight and Nash. We man not have what the Heat have in terms of LeBron, D-Wade, Bosh and the newly acquired Ray Allen. But, flip it around for a sec. Think about it. These teams don’t have what we have. They can’t come at you in waves. The Celtics can.
And that just may be the difference maker.