Leonardo Barbosa enjoyed a 14-year NBA career, where he was best known for running alongside with the 13 seconds or less Phoenix Suns, and being an integral part of the 2014-15 NBA Champions Golden State Warriors.
Here’s a flashback to his funniest moment with Golden State, when he predicted that the Warriors would win a title.
Recently, Barbosa joined the Steiny, Guru & Dibs show to talk about Stephen Curry’s shooting woes in January, Draymond’s impact on the team, and other things Warriors centric.
“Every player goes up and down. He [Curry] started the season really well, he finished last season doing a really good job. He started this season with a really high percentage. Every good player has up and downs, and we have to expect it. A guy goes out there and plays every single game with the other team doubling him. It’s not easy, it’s a tough job.”
As most knowledgeable fans and people realize, Steph Curry went through one of the toughest stretches in his career, where he shot 37% from the field, 31% from the perimeter and averaged a meager 21 points a game during the month of January. He went ahead and broke out of the month-long funk on Monday, when he scored 40 points on 13 of 23 shooting, with seven treys.
It was only a matter of time before Curry was going to break out, considering he shoots the three at a 43% career clip, and just months ago, surpassed Ray Allen for the all-time leader in three-point field goals made.
Draymond Green Is the Missing Ingredient
Throughout the years of Golden States success, Draymond Green has always been the engine that ran the offense. Not taking into account his elite all-defensive play, Green operates as essentially the point forward for the team. Everyone from Steph Curry to Jordan Poole primarily ran actions around Green. His basketball IQ is innate as he would be making the assist or the hockey assist for open looks within the offensive flow.
The defensive stalwart last played on January 9 and the team went on a 2-4 record, before recently stringing together a win streak of seven games and counting. Initially, the team struggled to adapt to life without the Michigan State product, but seems to have temporarily figured out life without Green. Barbosa attributes much of the struggles of the team’s offensive flow lately on the absence of Green. This has directly affected Curry’s January efficiency output, and Barbosa made sure to talk about Green’s absence even though he was never asked directly about Green.
“We all miss Draymond, the way the ball moves when Draymond is on the court. Especially with Curry, he has a very high connection with Draymond.”
The Difference Between Last Season and This Season
In last season’s shortened season, the Warriors did not get too far as they finished the regular season with a 39-33 record, and then were eliminated in the inaugural play-in tournament: first losing to the LA Lakers, and then at home to the Memphis Grizzles.
With the current record of 39-13, the Warriors have reverted back to their winning ways. The Brazilian provided some insight as to the reason why the contrast from last season to this season is so dramatic.
“Unfortunately, we didn’t really have that good a season last year. I can see we have some veterans—that was the issue last year, we didn’t have veterans—we were successful in getting players that been in the league for a while: [Nemanja] Bjelica, Otto Porter. Getting together with Steph and Klay with him back, Draymond. I think it helps the young guys to be better on the court, and I think the main thing right now, Looney is doing a really good job as he always does. So many guys have been stepping up right now, especially with the issues we have with the injuries.”
This was coming off an intense come from behind victory in San Antonio, where all of their glue rotational guys sat out on the second night of a back-to-back trip. Rookies and seldomly used players played the majority of minutes, and they applied the next man up mentality, as they never gave in and stole the victory. Jordan Poole gave a shout out to veteran Stephen Curry for acting like a players’ coach on the sideline throughout the game, giving him and teammates pointers as to how to combat the Spurs.