J.J. Barea | 2013-14 Profile

Wolves guard J.J. Barea just wrapped up his third season with the Timberwolves during the 2013-14 campaign.
David Sherman/NBAE/Getty Images
by Mark Remme
Web Editor
@markremme

Editor’s Note: Throughout the next month, Timberwolves.com will take a look back at the Wolves’ 2013-14 roster individually and look ahead to the upcoming offseason and 2014-15 campaign. Part IX looks back on J.J. Barea’s third year with the team.

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J.J. Barea

PG | 6-0, 178 pounds

2013-14 season: 79 GP, 18.6 MPG, .387 FG%, .316 3FG%, 8.4 PPG, 3.8 APG, 1.9 RPG

J.J. Barea’s style of play is often polarizing for fans. He’s aggressive and fiery, which leads to tremendous plays at the rim but also some unorthodox drives and turnovers. He’s a point guard who can shoot and get hot from outside, but it also leads to nights where he’s not a very efficient shooter.

And he’s as competitive as anyone on the team, which leads to emotional play on the court.

But however you view Barea’s game, there’s one constant that holds true: When Barea’s playing at his best, the Wolves are a much, much better team. He’s the type of spark off the bench that Minnesota needs to be successful—it’s why the team brought him in prior to the 2011-12 season, and it’s a big reason why he was such a factor in the Mavericks’ 2011 NBA title run.

[Related Content: Check out J.J. Barea's 2013-14 season in pictures]

Barea is still revered in Dallas because of his play off the bench during that championship season, and Dallas coach Rick Carlisle has gone as far as saying Barea is one of the top dribble penetrators in the league. When he’s at his best, he gives Minnesota a change of pace point guard that can take over the offense and score quickly—starter Ricky Rubio, by comparison, brings a little more passing flair to the game when he’s on the court.

This past season wasn’t Barea’s finest. His 8.4 points per game were the fewest he’d averaged since 2009-10, and it was his lowest field goal percentage since his rookie year both overall and from 3-point range. He was inconsistent, and so was the team. But when he was clicking, the Wolves were far stronger. Minnesota was 18-10 last season when Barea scored in double figures.

During his three years in Minnesota, Barea’s been a player who will challenge the locker room to bring out the team’s competitive fire. He’s won before, and he’s been a voice that can attest to what it takes to win in the NBA. His greatest strength is his competitive fire. That translates from workouts to games, and when he’s playing with control and efficiency he’s an incredibly strong asset in the Wolves’ back court.

“He plays hard at practice, he shines at practice,” Kevin Love said. “He kills our first time all the time no matter who’s guarding him or who’s switching off him on the pick-and-roll. We’re not concerned about him. We know when it’s time—he’s a gamer more than anything. When it comes time to play, he’ll be ready win, lose or draw.” 

J.J. Barea’s Top Games

March 11 vs. Milwaukee: Barea had one of his top games of the year at home against the Bucks on March 11. The Wolves played him alongside Ricky Rubio for a portion of the contest—harking back to the previous two years when coach Rick Adelman used two-point guard combos more frequently. On this particular night, it worked thanks to Milwaukee’s small lineup it threw out on the court—specifically their Brandon Knight/Nate Wolters/Ramon Sessions combinations. Barea played 28 minutes off the bench and scored 19 points on 7-of-10 shooting. He hit went 2-for-3 from 3-point range and added four assists and a pair of rebounds. He also went 3-of-4 from the line.

Feb. 12 vs. Denver: It’s hard to remember a more efficient game from Barea during his three years in Minnesota than this particular outing against Denver—a 117-90 victory that snapped the Wolves’ lone four-game losing streak of the year. He played just 18 minutes but went 8-for-8 from the field, including a pair of 3-pointers. He finished the night with 18 points and three assists. Barea’s role in that game was exactly what the Wolves look to him for every night: strong production and an energetic spark off the bench.

Dec. 27 vs. Washington: The Wolves lost to the Wizards in mid-November on the road, but they got their payback in late-December in a 120-98 win over Washington at Target Center. A big reason for that was Barea, who finished the game 8-for-10 from the field with 17 points. He hit his lone 3-pointer of the game and added four assists. When Barea is at his best, he’s attacking the basket and taking efficient 3-point attempts. He did it on this night, and the Wolves came out on top.

Top Offseason Objectives

Barea is a veteran who will spend his offseason helping get his body prepared for the upcoming season. A Puerto Rico native, Barea will likely spend a good chunk of his time in his native land. Barea is at a point in his career where his main goal needs to be taking care of his body and working out in a way that will keep him as effective as he was early in his career. It gets harder to maintain that level of endurance as your career continues, but it’s important to understand the level at which you need train as you become a veteran.

They Said It…

“I was due for something. So I was just going to keep being aggressive, but I was patient tonight. I took some shots, and it got me going. So I’m happy that I just helped my team out tonight and helped us get this win.” — Wolves guard J.J. Barea after his 19-point performance against the Bucks on March 11.