What Leandro Barbosa's Absence Means for Boston Celtics
During the Boston Celtics’ February 11 loss to the Charlotte Bobcats, Leandro Barbosa went down with a knee injury. ESPN reported later that the backup shooting guard suffered damage to the ACL in his left knee.
Barbosa is the third in a trio of devastating Celtics injuries recently. First, it was Rajon Rondo. Then, it was rookie Jared Sullinger. Now, Barbosa will be out for the season, and his one-year deal means he may not be seen in green on the court again. Let’s examine exactly what this loss means for the Celtics in their playoff push.
Avery Bradley and Courtney Lee Will Play Even More Minutes
When Rajon Rondo went down with a torn right ACL, Boston fans were worried how the star point guard’s absence would affect the guard positions, and particularly Avery Bradley’s play. However, Bradley and shooting guard Courtney Lee have proved that there is no reason to fear. They make a great team and generate fast offense.
Yet, Barbosa was a great backup for Lee coming off the bench. The Celtics were short before at the guard positions when Rondo went down; now, the only good option they have coming off the bench is sharpshooter Jason Terry, who Boston acquired from Dallas last summer. Needless to say, this means that Bradley and Lee will see even more playing time.
Every Player Needs to Step Up His Scoring
Barbosa was a reliable scorer coming off of the bench. For the 2012-13 season, he was averaging 5.2 points in only 12.5 minutes per game. Moreover, with Rondo out, he was seeing even more minutes on the court and was playing even better and scoring even more. Against Toronto on February 6, he helped the Celtics to a 99-95 win by scoring 14 points, 12 of which came during the fourth quarter.
Without Barbosa, the Celtics need to pick up the scoring. They can’t rely on Paul Pierce to have an amazing three-point shooting night every game. Bradley, Lee and the whole squad need to put up smart shots.
Jason Terry Needs to Stay Consistent and Pick Up the Slack
It’s no secret that Jason Terry is a good shooter, and he’s played well recently. For the last 10 games, Terry has averaged 12.4 points in 29.1 minutes of game play, improving upon his season statistics.
Yet, Terry can have some bad games. Against Toronto on February 6, he played 26 minutes and scored an incredibly disappointing two points despite the Celtics’ win over the Raptors. He also doesn’t have age on his side, as he’s 35 and has played in the NBA for 13 years. However, as long as Jason Terry remains healthy and consistent shooting-wise, he can pretty much make up for the loss of Barbosa.
Boston May Need Another Guard
Even though Terry is a good backup for Lee, the Celtics are still really lacking in the guard department with Rondo and Barbosa out. As a result, rumors have been swirling about the Celtics’ possible interest in trading for a guard.
As ESPN reported, the Celtics are “highly interested” in Los Angeles Clippers guard Eric Bledsoe. The point guard could certainly be a good addition to Boston if they got him through the right trade. For the last 10 games, 23-year-old Bledsoe has averaged 12.5 points, 3.1 rebounds and 5.5 assists in 29 minutes of game play for Los Angeles.
Paul Pierce Could Be Traded
Even though most Celtics fans can’t imagine a Boston team without Paul Pierce, the veteran small forward could, in fact, be traded so that Boston can fill some of the gaps in its roster. MassLive.com’s Jay King noted, “Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett are [their] most likely trade chips in a big-time deal.” Seeing as Garnett doesn’t seem willing to waive his no-trade clause, that leaves Pierce as the biggest trade chip that the Celtics have right now.
Chatter also surrounded a possible Garnett trade for Bledsoe and Clippers center DeAndre Jordan according to Yahoo! Sports, but Garnett is apparent unwillingness to waive his no-trade clause pretty much squashed those rumors.