Leandro Barbosa 'in contact' with Suns, per LB

Former Sun and current free agent Leandro Barbosa told a Brazilian basketball blog that the Suns are one of three teams he has been “in contact” with.

Although the Phoenix Suns’ 13-man roster appears to be set, Leandro Barbosa told a Brazilian sports site that the Suns are one of the teams he’s “in contact” with, along with the Lakers and the Nets.

Barbosa described the Suns as a “a franchise I have a history with, have spent great years there” in an interview with the Brazilian basketball blog Bala na Cesta, as translated by long-time VotS reader Artur Mascarenhas.

LB said that his good friend Steve Nash has messaged him about reuniting with the Lakers and that talks with LA were “very hot” during the Olympics before the Lakers signed Jodie Meeks to play the bench wing scorer role.

Barbosa would have no problem playing for the minimum “for a contender,” having just finished the five-year, $34 million deal he originally signed in Phoenix. Like Lou Amundson a few years back, LB feels some teams were scared off thinking he would ask for a higher salary, but “that’s not the case.”

If he does not receive a bite from an NBA team, Barbosa plans to play next season in his native Brazil.

However, he clearly would prefer to remain in the Association as he said he has no deadline and would even consider signing a deal after the season starts.

“Of course, there’s always the possibility that a deal never happens,” Barbosa said. “I’m aware of this and being realistic. The important thing right now is that there’s interest from teams.”

At 29, Barbosa is not exactly over the hill despite playing nine seasons in the league, and as we saw in the Olympics when he paced the Brazilians with 16.2 ppg, the man can still fill it up.

Yet his defense, never a strong suit, was utterly exposed during the Pacers’ playoff defeat at the hands of the Miami Heat, particularly when Dwyane Wade attacked him.

I still feel Barbosa has a few good years left as a microwave guy off the bench who can score you points in bunches but will need to be hidden on defense.

However, I don’t feel like that skill set is needed in Phoenix, where Jared Dudley, Shannon Brown and perhaps even Wes Johnson will share time at the two.

The Suns often only carry the roster minimum, and unless one of their guards suffers a long-term injury they don’t need another mouth to feed for playing time.

Of course, it certainly does not hurt if the Suns have in fact kept in contact with Barbosa as a trade or injury could put them in need of a wing scorer in a hurry, and there is no better such player currently on the open market than LB.

I have no doubt that Barbosa could still carry a reserve unit offensively, and at the veteran’s minimum he could be a bargain for a contender, so hopefully for his sake he finds a team in need of scoring punch off the pine soon.

Vastly different opinions of Marshall

I feel like we rushed through draft coverage of 2012 first-rounder Kendall Marshall because the day after his introductory press conference all the Nash rumors started swirling, and all of a sudden free agency was on in full force.

Therefore, I feel like this is the right time to go back and examine two very different perspectives on the Suns’ rookie.

First off, Bradford Doolittle’s ATH system for projecting rookies believes the Suns made a colossal mistake.

This system “estimates how well a player’s amateur production will translate based on certain athletic factors, such as foul-drawing ability, rebounding, shot-blocking and steals.” Doolittle used this system to project WARP for each draftee’s first four NBA seasons and correlated that to dollars.

Marshall rated out with a -22.1 projected WARP and thus a net value of $-4.5 million under the rookie scale. In other words, it’s projecting him to play so bad he should owe the Suns money.

What can I say? The ATH system hates, hates, hates Kendall Marshall. Only [Meyers] Leonard rates as a worse athlete. He’s the lowest usage player in the first round and still doesn’t project to be particularly efficient. His defense rates as poor. The system doesn’t give him full credit for his real strength, which is playmaking. That’s just sort of submerged into his offensive rating. However, that didn’t hold back other point guards that we rated.

Ian Levy of HoopSpeak explains why the Suns decided to select Marshall despite his lack of athleticism, and it all comes down to the fact that he “has passed more often, and to greater effect, than any player who has entered the NBA in more than a decade.”

As Levy notes, no player in the past 11 years has matched Marshall’s absurd average of 1.56 assist for every field goal attempt. Here’s why that happened, per Levy:

He has become a generous individual to the nth degree because he knew who he was and what he was supposed to be doing from the moment he was first inserted in the starting lineup. He knew his job was to move defenders, with his shoulders, with his eyes, to bring the ball across half-court and sheppard it into the hands of a player more suited than him for the much celebrated responsibility of putting it through the basket. In his collegiate career there has been development and growth, but all within the framework he selected. I mean this not as a criticism. In fact, I find myself in awe of a player with such consistent devotion to his own truth. …

Marshall’s statistical profile is unlike any other, but it slips below the radar for lack of rim-rattling dunks and step-back three-pointers to provide punctuation. But don’t miss an opportunity to appreciate a player the likes of whom we may not see again for years. Take note of Kendall Marshall. Even in a time of universal exceptionality, his repetitive and responsible subtlety is a revolutionary act.

Dudley excited about Scola

Luis Scola arrived for the Suns’ informal workout on Wednesday, and Jared Dudley for one liked what he saw.

Tags: Kendall Marshall Leandro Barbosa

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