The Bargain Bin: Should Rockets (or Any Team) Consider Leandro Barbosa?

By Brett David Roberts

Aug 16, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Brazil guard Leandro Barbosa (10) is defended by United States guard Derrick Rose (6) during the first quarter at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Brazilian guard Leandro Barbosa told Real GM that he was hoping his play in the FIBA World Cup would land him another contract in the NBA. Barbosa hasn’t yet held any visits with NBA teams, but he had a strong 11-year career in the league.

Barbosa had his best seasons with the Phoenix Suns, and functioned well in a sixth man role. He’s a combo guard best suited to be an undersized 2-guard, due to his ability to shoot the triple and find scoring opportunities. He is a mediocre distributor.

Barbosa hit 5-of-15 from the floor with four assists on Sunday with the Brazilian team. He tore his ACL Feb. 2013. Barbosa’s best season a pro came in 2006-07 when he posted 18.1 point per game, four assists and 1.2 steals in 32.7 minutes per night.

The following season, Barbosa played all 82 games and posted 15.6 points in under 30 minutes a night. His scoring ability has never been in question, but Barbosa hasn’t played meaningful minutes since the 2011-2 season. Last year, he appeared in 20 games with the Suns and averaged 14.7 points per-36.

Clearly, he has some ability left.

The question is, which team is in need of a 31-year old combo guard

Jan 27, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Phoenix Suns guard Leandro Barbosa (10) passes the ball during the third quarter against the Philadelphia 76ers at the Wells Fargo Center. The Suns defeated the Sixers 124-113. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

to fill out the roster?

The Houston Rockets already have rookie Nick Johnson, Troy Daniels and Isaiah Canaan in the backcourt behind James Harden and Patrick Beverley. Barbosa will not be playing in the D-League, and it’s doubtful he is better than any of the incumbents.

Barbosa’s best shot at an NBA contract may just be staying ready, and hoping a team needs to replace a backup guard due to injury. As it is, he hasn’t shot over 43 percent from the floor since 2010-11. Conversely, 31 years of age isn’t that old, and he may be able to regain his stroke. He’s a 39 percent career three-point shooter, which makes Barbosa a valuable spot up guy.

If any guard on the Rockets sustains injury, or just proves to be horrible, Barbosa may be a phone call away from duty.