Bye, Bye Little Guy

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Perhaps an equally difficult decision was made when the Mavs decided not to bring back sparkplug point guard J.J. Barea. No one can question the importance of Barea in bringing the Larry O’ Brien trophy to Dallas. Not only was Barea able to man the point, giving Jason Kidd enough rest to keep him effective, but Barea added a dimension to the offense that was lacking.

The Mavericks offense focused on quick passes, working the perimeter until someone popped open for an easy shot. Barea added someone who could take you off the dribble, drive the lane and either dish it to an open teammate, or take it to the bucket. Opposing defenses had to be ready for two different styles of play, one with Barea and one with Kidd.

Barea had an outstanding postseason, leading to a big payday. The Mavs wisely decided that Barea was not worth that kind of money. Part of the rationale was the hope that they could make a run at Chris Paul next off-season, a hope that grows increasingly unlikely by the day. The Mavs also realized that, as valuable as Barea is, he is not an elite point guard. It makes no sense to become overly emotional and resign him to a larger contract than he is worth. This is one of the reasons that the Mavs are a contender every season; they are willing to make the tough decisions.

Barea was also a liability on the defensive end of the floor due to his lack of height. Still, there was no mistaking the energy Barea brought to the floor when he came off the bench. He has worked hard to improve his game and has made himself into a decent NBA player. He will be missed. The Mavericks decided to bring in veteran point guard, Delonte West, to back up Jason Kidd this year.

This was a sound move, signing West to a one-year deal. West brings experience and toughness on the defensive end of the court that was lacking with Barea. The question is if West can keep his focus where it needs to be and stay out of trouble. The Mavs are going to be counting on West to provide about 18 quality minutes as they try to keep an aging Jason Kidd fresh throughout the season.

Roddy Beaubois can also play some at the point and Jason Terry can also direct the offense in a pinch. It feels like this roster move, plugging in West for Barea, will help on the defensive end without losing too much on the offensive end. If it doesn’t work, it’s no big deal as West is on a one-year deal. Great move for the Mavs and one that should help the team successfully defend their title.

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