Why Isn't Leandro Barbosa Playing?

Danny Ainge pulled off a great signing this off-season by acquiring Leandro Barbosa in the eleventh hour for the veteran's minimum (and stealing him from the clutches of the Lakers!). "The Brazilian Blur" showed early promise with his instant offense and speed, but of late, LB has barely seen the floor, only playing 19 minutes in the last 6 games. He still has game and does not have a noticeable injury, so why isn't he playing?

1: More playing time for Lee means more interest from other teams.
Have you noticed that Lee's return to the starting lineup with extended minutes coincided with the reports that he is being heavily shopped to other teams? If Ainge is serious about bringing in a strong haul for a package involving Lee, he has to show that Courtney is capable of handling starter's minutes. Over the past 2 Texas games, Lee has been solid, and I'm sure Doc Rivers doesn't want to dilude his value by giving Leandro 10-15 minutes right now.

2: Doc is Preparing for Bradley's Return:
With Avery Bradley's return imminent, Doc is looking to solidify his rotation. The big question going into the season was how the Lee-Bradley balance works out, and this next stretch will determine whether Doc goes with basically a 3-man rotation of Rajon Rondo, Jason Terry, and Bradley (with LB and Lee taking scrap minutes), or a 4-man rotation where Lee also gets serious playing time, say 15-20 minutes per game. We all know what we have with Barbosa: an athletic scorer who can get to the bucket and knock down 3's. Courtney Lee is the big question mark, with some signs of greatness and many signs of mediocrity, so this is still a testing period.

3: Rondo's style doesn't mesh organically with LB's
Barbosa is at his best when handling the ball. Even in PHX, where he would knock down corner 3's off of pinpoint Steve Nash dimes, his great games were usually when he would take people off the dribble in isolation and pick and roll. The Celtics clearly want Rondo to be more aggressive than ever, and while Barbosa can be a deadly fast-break partner, he's best suited as the dominant ball-handler. Thus, The Brazilian Blur's minutes will be limited throughout the season, but particularly during this stretch as the Celtics really look to get Rondo going, as they've done by drawing up more plays and late-game shots for the All-Star point guard.

All in all, it's unlikely for Leandro to be a constant contributor with guaranteed minutes. But by season's end, I wouldn't be surprised if Leandro comes through with some big games, and hopefully, playoff moments.

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