Following a trade, it is always great to check in with those that follow the player's former team closely. They know all of the nooks and crannies of the player's game along with how the player fit with the team and was perceived by the fan base.
Many thanks to Adam Francis from RaptorsHQ who took some time following the Pacers acquisition of Leandro Barbosa to give us his take on the trade from a Toronto perspective. As you'll see, it appears that Barbosa is just the type of player the Pacers were looking for and one fans may soon grow to love, as well.
IC: From the outside looking in, it appears the Raptors moved Barbosa to continue playing younger players. Is there anything else to the move? Any issues with Barbosa?
RHQ: In totality, this move accomplished three main things for the Raptors. Foremost, it allowed for more financial flexibility going into this off-season. The Raps will now have over $10M in cap space this summer, potentially more based on amnesty and other personnel decisions. Second, and as you noted, it cleared the way to give more time to a young team, desperate to see what it's got to work with as their rebuild continues. Jerryd Bayless and Barbosa more or less duplicated what the other brought to the team, so now Toronto can see how he, and others like Gary Forbes, fare in that reserve, scoring guard role. And finally, while a late second-round pick is hardly a surefire way to acquire top talent, Toronto, as their 15 and 30 record would indicate, need all the help they can get so the more kicks at the can so to speak, the better.
As far as Barbosa being an issue in any way though, chemistry-wise etc, not a chance. He was not only a fan favourite, but one of the team's most popular players, and someone the younger guys looked up to.
Check out the rest after the jump.
IC: Barbosa's role off the bench will likely fluctuate with the Pacers from game-to-game. How is he considered as a teammate? Any issues over playing time?
RHQ: None whatsoever. As noted above, he was maybe the most well-liked player on the club, and played his role to a T whether it was 30 minutes or 12 off the bench on a given night. We loved to harp on the fact that he was a bit of a black hole offensively at times, but you could never criticize him for not being ready to go.
IC: Can you highlight some of strengths and weaknesses in Barbosa's game? Any pet peeves we should brace for?
RHQ: By far his biggest strength is his ability to score points in a hurry. He's not the most efficient player, but he's instant offense off the bench, and he can swing games for a team because of that. He's also not the most athletic player, but there is this unique combination of quickness and explosiveness that allows him to consistently keep defenders off-balance, and looping forays to the rim will be commonplace in Indiana. One-on-one, especially when he's got a full head of steam, he's incredibly tough to stop.
That being said, he'll be incredibly frustrating to watch at times. He's a bit of a black-hole offensively and loves the off-balance, pull-up 3, something that will likely become a pet peeve for Indiana fans. He's also not exactly a lock-down defender, although his quickness will allow him to swoop through the passing lanes, snaring errant assist attempts.
But I don't think either issue will be as big a concern in Indiana as it was in Toronto. The Raptors have struggled all year to put points on the board so there was a lot more pressure on Barbosa to score a ton efficiently, and that's just not his game. He's a volume guy, a sparkplug off the pine in smaller time periods and with Indiana, hopefully he won't feel the need to carry a team offensively all by himself.