Barbosa Brings More Depth to the Pacers, but Will He Bring a Lineup Change?

Joe LovelessContributor IMarch 16, 2012

The Indiana Pacers didn't necessarily need to add another guard, but they went out and acquired one anyway.

Thanks to $14 million in free cap space, the Indiana Pacers were able to add a very productive player without having to send another one away.

For a mere 2nd round pick, which usually amounts to a European that never comes to the NBA or a fringe bench player, the Indiana Pacers were able to acquire the 2006-2007 6th Man of the Year Leandro Barbosa from the Toronto Raptors.

Because the Raptors are going into full on “tank mode”, the Indiana Pacers were able to add more depth and more importantly, another scorer on the bench.

For his career, Barbosa has averaged 12.6 points per game, shooting 46.3% from the field, and 39% from behind the arc. This season, playing nearly 22 minutes a game, Barbosa has averaged 12.2 points per game, while shooting 43.6% from the field and 36% from 3 point land.

Barbosa is a player with international experience and playoff experience. He spent time with the Phoenix Suns, making the playoffs every year before coming to the Toronto Raptors.

Was the need for Leandro Barbosa necessary? Not really, but it never hurts to add depth to the guard spot. One injury and the Pacers are back down to giving Lance Stephenson more minutes, something that would be tough to deal with going into the playoff stretch.

“He’s going to add great depth to our already strong bench and we know he’s an extremely explosive scorer, a spark plug, always has been in this league,” Coach Frank Vogel said. “We’re just excited to add more veteran leadership, a guy that’s been in deep playoff runs and we’re excited about him being able to come in and help us as we try to make a deep playoff run this year.

Many are assuming that George Hill will jump into the starting lineup. While it does make sense for Hill to get more minutes, the bulk of his production has came at the shooting guard spot this season for the Indiana Pacers. The Pacers are 25-16 with Darren Collison in the starting lineup, and while he has had his struggles recently, why mess with the chemistry of the team, and possibly Darren Collison’s mind by sending him to the bench?

Leandro Barbosa is very capable of playing the point guard spot, which he did when he backed up Steve Nash in Phoenix. With Lou Amundson also being from Phoenix, for the time being, I expect Barbosa to run the point for the 2nd unit, which is a group that likes to play with energy and get out and push the ball. A backcourt of Leandro Barbosa and George Hill will be one of the fastest in the league, and with Dahntay Jones, Tyler Hansbrough, and Lou Amundson in the front court, the Pacers bench unit will be a difficult group to deal with. Barbosa and Hill are capable of putting up 15 points on any given night, and Tyler Hansbrough and Dahntay Jones have certainly had great games from time to time.

While the Pacers do not have a true superstar like LeBron James or Derrick Rose, they have eight guys that can score double figures on any given night. Come playoff time, if everything is clicking right, whoever the Pacers face in the playoffs might have a headache when it comes to figuring out who to guard.

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