Much like Terry, Barbosa’s greatest skill is his ability to deliver points off the bench. He has established himself as an offensive sparkplug throughout his three stops in Phoenix, Toronto and Indiana. Barbosa’s best offensive season came back in 2006-07, when he averaged 18.1 PPG off the bench for the Suns en route to the Sixth Man of the Year award. He shot 47.6 percent from the field and 43.4 percent from 3-point range that season.
His numbers have dipped since that season but don’t let the raw numbers fool you: he can still get it done offensively. Barbosa’s statistical declines are due in large part to a decrease in playing time. His minutes per game average maxed out at 32.7 in 2006-07, but he has received less than 25.0 minutes of action in four of his five seasons since then.
To more accurately depict what his offensive numbers really mean, let’s take a look at what Barbosa provides on a per-36 minute basis. He averaged 19.9 points per 36 minutes back in his Sixth Man of the Year campaign and his numbers have been near that ever since. In 2008-09, he has a career-best average of 21.0 points per 36 minutes. In 42 games with Toronto last season, he scored 19.5 points per 36 minutes.
Barbosa was impressive while assuming the role of starting shooting guard for the Brazilian national basketball team. He was the eighth-highest scorer in the tournament with 16.2 PPG while leading Brazil to a surprising fifth-place finish. Barbosa drilled 49 percent of his field goals and 40 percent of his 3s in six games.
The Gasol brothers and Jose Calderon can attest to how much Barbosa still has left in the proverbial tank. Barbosa scored 23 points during an 88-82 upset over Spain, including 10 clutch points in the final six minutes.
After those performances, one has to wonder how Barbosa remained on the free agent market for so long. He proved himself this summer and his per-36 minute averages have been consistent throughout his lengthy career. Sure, his shooting percentages have dipped slightly over the years, but he has made 46.1 percent of his field goals, 39.1 percent of his 3-pointers and 82.3 percent of his free throws over nine NBA seasons. As many shooting coaches would attest, once a shooter, always a shooter.
And if Celtics fans are excited about the Barbosa signing, just think how excited our resident Brazilian center is to have his countryman join him on the team.
Acabei de Falar com O leadrinho pelo cel...O novo Celta ja esta cheio de gas!!
— Fab Melo (@Fabpmelo) October 18, 2012
Roughly translated on Google Translate, this says,
I just Talking to Leandro by cel ... The new Celtic is already full of gas!
And since Barbosa played for Brazil in the Olympics, he's probably in decent shape right now. I can see him hitting the court running... literally!