Boston Celtics: What Is Leandro Barbosa's Role on the 2012-13 Team?

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Boston Celtics: What Is Leandro Barbosa's Role on the 2012-13 Team?
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Leandro Barbosa is making a splash with the Celtics this season despite averaging only 10 minutes a game.

His first splash came in the season opener against the Miami Heat, when it was his 16 points off of the bench that kept the game from being a complete blowout. Barbosa made little impact on the court after that, though, until Boston's 98-93 triumph over the up-and-coming Utah Jazz last night.

With Rondo sidelined for much of the game and Jason Terry simply not producing, "The Brazilian Blur" netted 16 points on 6-of-8 shooting from the floor in nearly 23 minutes of action. 

This type of production has Celtic faithful everywhere begging for Doc to give this man more minutes.

This may be good for the C's for awhile, but he is not a long-term answer to the Celtic's current backcourt woes, folks.The first thing that needs to be realized is that while he is producing, his window of opportunity is closing quickly for two reasons.

For one, the Celtics front office dished out the big bucks to two backcourt players, in Jason Terry and Courtney Lee, this past offseason.

While neither of the two have met expectations to this point, "The Jet" is still the go-to wing man and has sporadically shown signs of that so far this season, and while Lee is off to a slow start offensively, the box score doesn't show just how much his defense has meant to the Celtics to this point.

It can be argued that the Milwaukee Bucks have one of the most explosive backcourts in the league, and it was Lee's lockdown defense kept the Jennings-Ellis duo from running even more rampant on the slow-starting Celtics defense than they did a few days ago.

The second and most important dynamic that fans seem to be forgetting is that Avery Bradley is close to returning.

Bradley proved just how important he is to the Celtics in the latter half of last season.

It can be argued that had Bradley stayed healthy in the postseason, he would have kept Dwyane Wade under control in the Eastern Conference Finals, and the Celtics could be looking for banner number 19 and a repeat championship this season. 

That said, the question of what the explosive Barbosa's role will and should be with this year's Celtics remains.

The answer is simple—he is the Celtics' younger and faster Keyon Dooling.

Dooling also came up big for Boston sporadically during the regular season last year. When the C's roster was depleted in the playoffs, Dooling not only brought energy to a tired group of veterans, but he also gave the team a spark when Rondo needed a breather and hit some much-needed shots to keep the Celtics in contention. 

When given the opportunity, Barbosa has been great so far this season, but that is as far as his role will go.

When he is needed, which will be sporadically much like Dooling was last season, he will deliver.

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