Barbosa Returns

>масиack Cimini

On Christmas day the Phoenix Suns got a great gift with the return of Leandro Barbosa to their bench rotation. Barbosa had missed twelve games with a bum ankle. During that time the Suns found a new nucleus of role players to compliment their starters. Young players such as Jared Dudley and Goran Dragic have come in and earned their minutes. Alvin Gentry is going to have a rough time dividing up the minutes now with a bench as deep as his.

Barbosa’s minutes are near a career low only averaging 21 minutes a game. Do not look for Barbosa to get buried to the eighth or ninth spot off the bench. He is an electric player that has not lost the speed that has differentiated him as one of the best sparks to come off the bench. Instead of the Suns cutting the minutes of Dragic and Dudley look for them to reduce Grant Hill’s.

At 38, he is playing as if he did during his Detroit days. His great start though early on has been a bit shaky as of late. Some games he can be a great force and others he seems a step slow. We believe this has to do with his high minutes of play and the hectic schedule of the NBA. If the Suns can figure out a better system to utilize him that will prevent his erratic play and keep him fresh for a full season. The Suns will definitely need his size and defensive presence throughout the season.

The other player the Suns need to figure out their main plan for is Channing Frye. There is plenty to rave about Frye on the year. When the Suns are running and gunning he is one of the players teams are puzzled on matching against. He spreads the floor nicely as a big man, and is showing a three point shot teams never were aware of. That’s the good part of Frye. His weakness has always been to bang on the boards as a 6’10 big man. It’s part of the reason why Lou Amundson has been gaining minutes.

Expect games that the Suns aren’t getting high proficiency from Frye for him to take a seat on the bench. He is averaging by far a career high in minutes at nearly 32 a game. We don’t see that trend continuing and for him to probably slip down to the 25-28 minute average.

Fantasy owners should be racing to their mouse clickers and logging in to their Yahoo Fantasy NBA Leagues. Barbosa is only owned in 57 percent of leagues currently. You know that he is going to be a high percentage shooter with his slashes to the whole and ability to attack and get to the free throw line. Barbosa is just a solid steady player that isn’t going to kill you with horrible shooting like most bottom tier role players in your fantasy leagues.