For Suns fans, witnessing Leandro Barbosa put up a barrage of points in a matter of minutes is far from a rarity. While the FIBA Americas is not quite the same as facing the Spurs and Lakers on back-to-back nights, LB’s stellar play should be noted nonetheless.
Barbosa went into today’s FIBA Americas game against Canada averaging 18.4 points per game in 30.6 minutes of action. Barbosa along with fellow countryman and Cleveland Cavalier Anderson Varejao had led Brazil to a 5-0 record entering today’s game.
With a trip to the 2010 World Championships and an undefeated record on the line, Brazil bested Canada, 68-59. LB brought his game face to the tune of 31 points on 11-for-16 shooting in 37 minutes of play.
A Brazilian team that features only one other NBA player (Varejao) is now 6-0 and could potentially play four more games if the squad makes it to Sunday’s championship game. As for LB, he is averaging 20.5 points per game on 60 percent shooting and has been arguably the best player in the tournament and far and away Brazil’s MVP.
Although the whole NBA world knows about LB’s scoring prowess, it is nice to see that he can fill it up on any team, against any team, in any system. For those who believe he is simply a product of the Suns’ run-n-gun system, think again; for maybe it is the Suns’ style of play that is a byproduct of Leandro’s unbelievably unique skill-set. Just a thought.
Even if it is all of the way in Puerto Rico, Barbosa continues to prove that when he is on the floor, good things happen. He is not a point guard, he is not a shooting guard, he is simply a scorer, and a damn good one. While I am not going to once again state my case for why Barbosa needs to start in a Suns uniform, he needs to play 30 minutes a game, no matter the position.
If Alvin Gentry can get LB at least 30 minutes a game, while keeping J-Rich happy and productive, the Suns should have no problem eclipsing the century mark on a nightly basis. Next order of business … defense.