The Boston Celtics had the Miami Heat on the ropes last postseason when they nearly pulled off the upset. The Celtics held a 3-2 series edge, but lost the final two games and the Heat advanced to the NBA Finals.
The loss to Miami forced Boston to make some changes in the offseason, cutting ties with Ray Allen and upgrading the bench. On Wednesday, the Celtics reportedly signed guard Leandro Barbosa to a one-year contract worth the veteran’s minimum salary.
Barbosa has played for three teams in his career, most recently with the Indiana Pacers. He is still just 29 years old and can be a fine addition to the Boston bench. He has averaged 12.5 points per game, and played in 588 games during his nine-year NBA career.
Boston seems to have cornered the market on combo guards — they also added Jason Terry, one of the best sixth men in the league. The Celtics also have Avery Bradley, who will start the season rehabbing from surgery on both shoulders. They also brought in veteran shooting guard Courtney Lee.
To be honest, signing him surprised me a little bit. They have Rajon Rondo, a top-five point guard, and once Bradley heals they will have five guards deserving playing time. I guess they feel like having too many is better than too few. Barbosa gives the Celtics a guard who, even though undersized at 6 feet 3, is capable of playing both backcourt positions. He has made his reputation as a penetrating guard who likes to take it to the rim and score in the paint. Think of a poor man’s (or a homeless man’s) Allen Iverson.
Adding Barbosa doesn’t make them the favorites in the Eastern Conference, but it definitely gives them a lot of depth and helps increase their chances of being able to possibly beat the Heat in what should be a great rivalry.
Darren Jacks is a regular contributor to OneManFastBreak.net. Send him an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org