Dallas Mavericks: Showing Some Love to JJ Barea
J.J. Barea is a definite crowd favorite for the Dallas Mavericks in large part due to his extended time spent here and, of course, his size versus the energy that he plays with. Today, we want to show some love to our favorite Puerto Rican.
The Dallas Mavericks have been one of the best teams in the NBA ever since the turn of the century and, more notably, the drafting of Dirk Nowitzki. A lot of great players have come and gone for the Mavs in that time. One of which is a player still held in high regards here in Dallas.
J.J. Barea played college basketball at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts. While there, Barea led the Huskies in scoring and assists for all 4 years. By the end of his collegiate career, not only had Barea set new school records, he also had numerous awards to his name.
J.J. averaged over 20 points per game in his entire college career, including nearly 23 points per game in his junior season. He also reached 8.4 assists per game in his senior season which led the CAA conference. Barea had a number of accomplishments, yet none of them landed him much recognition when the NBA draft rolled around.
Barea entered the 2006 NBA draft as one of the most notable small conference players, but with his size and the level of competition within said conference, no teams were biting. After the draft, J.J. joined the Golden State Warriors for the Las Vegas Summer League.
While there, Barea played five games, but did not bring the same results he had in college. The Dallas Mavericks apparently liked what they saw, however, because they brought Barea over for the Rocky Mountain Revue where he played three games. During those games, J.J. had much more success, scoring 12 points per game in 25 minutes of play.
The Dallas Mavericks were sold on Barea and signed him to a multi-year deal shortly after. J.J. couldn’t break the rotation for the first part of the season, however, so the Mavericks sent him to the Fort Worth Flyers during the 2007 for a little while to get some D-League experience.
The D-League stint did not last long for Barea because he was just too good for the league to handle. In 8 games of play, J.J. averaged 27.3 points, 7.8 assists, 5 rebounds, and 1.3 steals per game. This includes 2 such games in which Barea eclipsed the 40-point mark.
The Mavericks recalled J.J. a few weeks after sending him down and he never went back. The little Puerto Rican continued to improve year after year leading up to the greatest Mavs season in history.
When 2011 came around, Barea had solidified his spot in the Mavericks rotation and was quickly gaining a strong fan base with his high energy play and fearlessness on the court. The 2011 playoff run was nothing short of magical with the Mavs fighting through each round as the underdog straight to the only title in franchise history.
Barea was an integral part of the playoff run for the Mavericks. Coming off the bench, J.J. made his case scoring, assisting, and even creating defensive plays when the Mavs needed them. No game was more notable for his contribution than Game 5 of the NBA finals against the Miami Heat.
Most people turn to Game 4 of the Lakers series when J.J. took a cheap shot in the rib cage from Andrew Bynum, but this game was just as sweet. J.J. went in for only his 2nd start of the playoffs in place for DeShawn Stevenson and played an incredible game.
Barea finished the game with 17 points on 6-11 shooting, along with 5 assists and 2 rebounds. He took advantage of Mario Chalmers while in the game and kept the Mavs ahead during a tough stretch. Without his contribution, the Mavs may not have won the game or series.
After that season, J.J. went to Minnesota for a few years but knew he had to come back to Dallas. The Mavs have had him ever since and hope to keep him for good.
Next: Dallas Mavericks: Matching Up with the Utah Jazz
J.J. Barea has earned a lot of respect in his time here in Dallas. The fans love him, the organization loves him, and we hope to continue to see great things from him. Best of luck to you this season J.J. We are rooting for you.