Dwyane Wade credits Mavericks guard for 2011 championship: 'We didn't have an answer'

Dirk Nowitzki won the real MVP, but JJ Barea was Wade's MVP.
Dallas Mavericks, Dwyane Wade, JJ Barea, 2011 NBA Championship
Dallas Mavericks, Dwyane Wade, JJ Barea, 2011 NBA Championship / Ronald Martinez/GettyImages

The Dallas Mavericks missed the postseason entirely this past season for the first time in three years, marking a massive failure in the franchise’s history.

That may sound dramatic, but considering the fact that Luka Doncic is leading the way, and they traded for Kyrie Irving at the deadline, it’s simply the honest truth. They failed.

Now, they will need to focus on getting back into form, with hopes of winning the organization its first championship since the 2011 season, when Dirk Nowitzki led them to their one and only title.

However, while Nowitzki got most of the glory from that title run, he shouldn’t get all the credit. In fact, some people on the opposing side think the X-factor was someone different entirely.

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Dwyane Wade credits Mavericks' JJ Barea for 2011 championship: 'We didn't have an answer for him'

During a conversation with Shannon Sharpe on his podcast, “Club Shay Shay,” Miami Heat legend Dwyane Wade spoke about the 2011 NBA Finals, giving a ton of credit to Mavericks guard JJ Barea. (h/t The Dallas Morning News)

"We got out-coached by Rick Carlisle and his staff and we got out-played by Dirk and Jason Terry, but that little JJ Barea. Nobody gives him credit. JJ Barea changed that series. We didn’t have the answer for him."

Dwyane Wade, Club Shay Shay

He broke down Miami’s gameplan heading into the series, noting that they knew what Nowitzki could do, but their goal was to have Udonis Haslem make life hard on him.

As for Jason Terry, the Heat already knew he was hot, so they weren’t overly worried about him. They just wanted to control what they could control.

But when it came to Barea, things broke down.

"Nobody was planning for little JJ to come off the bench and do what he did. Not from an MVP as an award, but from an MVP who really pushed that series over, I give it to JJ because we didn’t have an answer for him."

Dwyane Wade, Club Shay Shay

What Barea brought to the table was the most valuable asset of all - shock factor. Going up against a newly-formed super team in the Heat, the Mavericks needed every advantage they could muster together, and Barea gave them that.

No one in the Miami locker room could have predicted Barea to have the impact he did in that series, especially considering how it began for him.

Looking at Barea’s averages int he 2011 NBA Finals won’t paint a fair picture. Through the first four games of the series, he totaled just 21 combined points, and things were knotted up at two wins apiece.

However, in the final two games, Barea exploded. He dropped 17 points and five assists in Game 5 and 15 points and five assists in Game 6, propelling the Mavericks to a championship.

Obviously, Nowitzki’s contributions deserve all the praise in the world. He’s the greatest player to ever don the Mavericks uniform, and he led the squad to the first title in franchise history.

Terry, Jason Kidd, Shawn Merion, and Tyson Chandler deserve their praise, too. But without Barea’s play off the bench, who knows what would have happened in 2011?

And if Wade is willing to give as much credit as he did to Barea, it’s clear that his impact was out of this world.