Dubs by the Digits: Leandro Barbosa


Recently, we started a series of articles called “Dubs by the Digits.” These articles give fans a quick statistical breakdown on members of the Golden State Warriors.

The first article of this series was about Warriors backup point guard, Shaun Livingston, the second article of this series was about Warriors shooting guard/small forward, Brandon Rush, the third article in this series was about Warriors small forward/power forward, Draymond Green.

The fourth article in this series was about Warriors shooting guard/small forward Andre Iguodala, and the most recent article in this series was about Warriors center Andrew Bogut.

The next Warriors player we’ll take a look at is guard Leandro Barbosa.

The Warriors officially signed Barbosa a few days ago, but it was reported a few weeks ago that the Warriors had agreed to terms with Barbosa on a one-year contract worth the veteran’s minimum.

One of the Warriors’ most important areas they had to address this offseason was adding more backcourt depth, which they did by signing Shaun Livingston, Brandon Rush, and Aaron Craft.

Livingston and Nemanja Nedovic are currently dealing with injuries though, and Craft is an unproven player. Therefore, it made sense for the Warriors to add a veteran player like Barbosa, who can play both point guard and shooting guard.

Barbosa has 11 years of NBA experience, and he played eight of those seasons within the Pacific Division with the Phoenix Suns (2003-2010, 2013-2014). He also played for the Toronto Raptors (2010-2011, 2012), the Indiana Pacers (2011-2012), and the Boston Celtics (2012-2013).

Aug 16, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; United States guard Stephen Curry (4) is defended by Brazil guard Leandro Barbosa (10) and center Anderson Varejao (11) during the second half at the United Center. The United States defeated Brazil 95-78. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

His best years came with the Suns between 2006 and 2009. He was the Suns’ sixth man, and he was a true sixth man in the sense that he provided a spark off the bench with his scoring and his three-point shooting. He even won the Sixth Man of the Year Award during the 2006-2007 season, which was his best statistical season.

At the beginning of the 2013 season, Barbosa played for Esporte Clube Pinheiros of Brazil for eight games, and he averaged 15.9 points and 3.1 assists. He returned to the NBA to play for the Suns in January 2014.

He also most recently played for the Brazilian National Team in the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup, in which he averaged 11.9 points in seven games. He helped lead Brazil to the World Cup quarterfinals.

In recent history, Barbosa has dealt with some serious injuries, but hopefully for the Warriors, he can remain healthy this upcoming season. If he can avoid injuries, he could certainly give the Warriors some more backcourt depth, some more veteran leadership, plenty of playoff experience (2004-2008, 2009-2010, 2011-2012), and another shooter who can spread the floor.

Let’s take a look at some of Barbosa’s stats from his best years in his NBA career and from last season with the Suns:

PTSREBASTFG %FT%3PT %TS%Off./Def. RtgGames(starts)MIN
2006-200718.12.7447.684.543.459.5115/10880 (18)32.7
Postseason15. (1)31.7
2007-200815.62.82.646.282.238.957.5111/11182 (12)29.5
2008-200914.22.62.348.288.137.558.8117/11270 (11)24.4
2013-20147.51.91.642.779.52850.6103/11020 (0)18.4

-TS%, true shooting percentage, measures player’s shooting efficiency, takes into account field goals, three-point field goals, and free throws.
-Offensive rating: points produced per 100 possessions
-Defensive rating: points allowed per 100 possessions

Barbosa’s time as the sixth man for the Suns was spectacular. He provided three-point shooting off the bench, but he also supplied speed, which gave him the “Brazilian Blur” nickname. Averaging 18.1, 15.6, and 14.2 points per game during 2006-2009 as a sixth man is incredibly impressive.

What’s also impressive is his 43.4 three-point percentage in 2006-2007. His three-point shooting percentage has declined over the years, but in the Warriors’ new offensive system under new head coach Steve Kerr, the spacing of the floor could perhaps help him resurrect his three-point shooting ability.

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Barbosa can also play point guard, which is also a valuable skill to have coming off the bench, especially given the recent injury to Livingston and the uncertainty involved with Craft and Nedovic. Barbosa might not be as speedy as he used to be, but his quickness will come in handy as a backup point guard.

His assists per game has also gone down over the years, but, again, his passing and distributing might benefit from Kerr’s new offensive system.

It’s unclear how many minutes Barbosa will see behind Livingston (once he’s healthy) and Rush, but the Warriors could use more depth and Barbosa will find ways to contribute, if he stays healthy. His veteran experience will earn him minutes, and he could allow Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry to rest more.

It’ll be interesting to see that chemistry that he builds with Curry and Thompson but also with Livingston and Rush.

Given Barbosa’s contract, signing Barbosa is a low-risk move that could give the Warriors a valuable asset that they didn’t have last season, backcourt depth. If Barbosa can stay healthy, he could bring some valuable qualities to the Warriors’ bench.