Will Leandro Barbosa Be a Toronto Raptor for the Entire 2011-12 NBA Season?
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One player who could be moved close to the trade deadline is shooting guard Leandro Barbosa of the Toronto Raptors. Barbosa was drafted by the San Antonio Spurs with the 28th overall draft pick in the 2003 NBA Draft before being traded to the Phoenix Suns on draft night.
Barbosa was acquired by the Raptors, along with Dwayne Jones, from the Suns in exchange for Hidayet Turkoglu (who only spent one season in Toronto that turned out to be a disaster).
Nicknamed the “Brazilian Blur,” Barbosa played up to his name in his seven seasons with Phoenix. He averaged 12.2 points during the regular season and 10.2 points in the playoffs (five appearances) even though the Suns did not make it to the NBA Finals.
He was a high-percentage shooter, especially from the three-point line, where his career-best percentage is 44 percent making him difficult to guard. The ability to drive by his defender with his quick first step was also an issue for opposing players.
Barbosa provided a lot of scoring while in Phoenix, helping the team become successful in the postseason and partnering with two-time Most Valuable Player point guard Steve Nash. Barbosa even won the Sixth Man of the Year award in 2006-07 when he averaged a career-high 18.1 points per game off the bench.
Before that season started, he signed a five-year extension with the Suns worth close to $34 million. His value was at an all-time high, and he had proved that his shooting ability made him a threat to opposing defenses.
Since the 2007-08 NBA season, Barbosa has seen his scoring average go down, as well as his minutes played. As a result, he slowly found himself becoming less of a factor in the Suns offense. Injuries were part of the reason why he received less playing time, but it also seemed time for a change was looming for Barbosa and the Phoenix Suns both.
During the summer of 2010, the Suns traded Barbosa to the Toronto Raptors, where he averaged 13.3 points per game in a starting role while averaging 24.1 minutes per game. Even though the Raptors were not a playoff team, Barbosa got the opportunity to start, and if he continues to put up solid numbers, the possibility of him playing elsewhere in 2011-12 may become greater.
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