Phoenix Suns: 3 Ex-Suns That Could Best Help in NBA Finals

Phoenix Suns (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Phoenix Suns (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /
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Phoenix Suns, Leandro Barbosa
Phoenix Suns, Leandro Barbosa (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

Phoenix Suns Useful Ex-Players: Leandro Barbosa, 2003-2010, 2014, 2016-2017

Leandro Barbosa started with the Suns before bouncing around quite a bit, even winning a championship with the Golden State Warriors, before returning to Phoenix on two seperate occasions. Barbosa’s best stretch though came during his first stint with the Suns, where he averaged 18.1 points, 4.0 assists, and 1.2 steals per game during the 2006-07 season.

Those efforts won him the Sixth Man of the Year Award, and made him an easy fan favorite. But with today’s team, he seems like the perfect two-guard to run with Cameron Payne off the bench.

Nicknamed the “Brazilian Blur” for good reason, Barbosa possessed game-breaking speed that went almost unrivaled during his days with the Suns. It allowed him to slash to the basket for quick points, score off the fast break, and spring open for 3-point attempts.

Running with Payne, an absolute speedster himself, this bench unit for Phoenix will keep opposing defenses in their rear view mirrors at all times, leading to fast and fun scoring. For defenders to get terrorized by Booker and Paul for a couple sets, to then get stuck eating the Payne/Barbosa backcourt’s dust over and over again sounds like basketball hell.

Also benefitting the Suns more so as a team, this fully formed secondary backcourt poises to help take the load off the aging Paul’s shoulders from time to time, and relieve Booker from his heavy workload as well.

During Phoenix’s series with the Clippers, we saw both Paul and Booker experience fatigue late during Games 4 and 5. But if another capable guard comes into the fix, and a perfect one to pair with Payne for that matter, than it creates opportunities for both Paul and Booker to rest simultaneously for extended periods.

Additionally, the up-tempo play style likely implemented by Payne and and Barbosa will tire out their opponents defensively, collectively allowing the Suns to stay rested, while everyone else grows tired. That certainly sounds like a winning formula.