The Golden State Warriors and guard Leandro Barbosa have reportedly agreed to a one-year contract for the veterans’ minimum. Barbosa, who most recently manned the Phoenix Suns’ backcourt, is a career backup whose job has been to provide depth for teams with deep backcourts.
In light of Shaun Livingston’s recent injury, however, Barbosa will most likely be asked to play about 20 MPG as a primary backup while Livingston gets back up to speed, and it’s a role Barbosa has not served since the 2011-12 season.
Like Livingston, Barbosa has played an ample amount of shooting guard throughout his career, and will have to adjust if the Warriors do expect him to handle the ball off of the bench. In fact, Barbosa has only played a in a regular point guard in one of his past nine seasons: 2012 with the Boston Celtics, during which he only played 500 minutes.
Last season, however, Barbosa played almost half of his minutes at the point, honing his ballhandling skills and reacquainting himself with how to run an offense. Moreover, Steve Kerr’s offense figures to be closer to that of Jeff Hornacek in Phoenix last year than to Mark Jackson’s isolation-heavy offense in Golden State the past three years.
Given the injuries that have already afflicted the Warriors even before the preseason has begun, desperation has already set in. The Warriors hope that Barbosa can keep the bench unit together until Livingston’s return; however, Barbosa’s profile as more of a two than a one, and his overall talent makes him a less-than-ideal candidate to run the Warriors’ bench.