For the non-Brazilian/Portuguese among you (and I’m wholly assuming that is 100%), the title of this post translates into “Keep the Faith”*.
It seems to fit appropriately for one of the most crisis-causing players of the early season, one Mr. Leandro Barbosa. Barbosa’s play over the first couple weeks was horribly disconcerting but I must admit that when his mother passed away I actually felt a little relieved. Not that his mother had passed away, of course, that’s terrible news. But it actually shed light that something was actually wrong with him.
Anyone who read Jack McCallum’s fantastic book “Seven Seconds or Less” learned that Barbosa is very family-oriented kind of gentle soul who had a very close relationship with his mother. The fact that he was playing poorly while his mother was very ill makes complete sense. His poor play may not have been the result of a sharp decline but mental stress. It happens.
Now that he is back with the Suns and has lost a few pounds from the episode, what can we expect?
I predicted Barbosa to have a bounce back season due the expected decline of Steve Nash (which is happening, btw). Now that he longer has to worry about things at home, what’s next? Does this personal loss derail his entire season or will the conculsion of this stressful period lead to a restoration of his play?
At this point, any owner would love for Barbosa to return to his numbers from a year ago, even though they were actually considered subpar. He’s currently averaging 10.9 points on 41 percent shooting and less than two assists per game.
The fact is that even if you tried to trade him, you’d be getting ten cents on the dollar. Not a smart move this early in the season. And you can’t just give up on a player who averaged 16.9 points over the previous two seasons just because of nine bad games he played while his mother was dying in another continent.
If you have someone in your league who has supreme faith in Barbosa, maybe it’s wise to swing a deal. But otherwise, Manter a Fé, my friends, Manter a Fé.
* Translation rendered by Google Translate. If this phrase has in any way butchered the Portuguese language, blame these assholes.