Shootaround Access - Jan. 21 | Barea Has Fit Right Back In With Dallas
Guard J.J. Barea is playing in his first game at the Target Center since being released by the Wolves during Training Camp.
The move was seen to be a win-win for both sides. The Wolves were hoping to get younger and make room for prospect Glenn Robinson III, who was a second-round pick in the 2014 NBA Draft.
For Barea, it was a chance for the six-year veteran to find another place where he’d maybe get more of an opportunity. Barea got that and some. Almost immediately after his release, Barea was picked up by the team in which he spent his first five seasons with and helped win the 2011 NBA Championship – the Dallas Mavericks.
“J.J. is a very good player that’s fit back in very quickly with us,” said Dallas head coach Rick Carlisle. “We haven’t changed a lot of our approach in our style. I thought he did a really good job with the Timberwolves for three years. We were fortunate to get him back.”
In three seasons with the Wolves (2011-2014), Barea averaged 10.1 points, 4.3 assists and 2.4 rebounds per game. His numbers in his final year with the club dropped. He was shooting just 38.7 percent from the field and 31.6 percent from deep. His clock in Minnesota may have been ticking, but he still had a role in this league. Ironically, it was the same role with the same club that put him on the map in NBA circles.
Barea is playing just 15.9 minutes per game, his lowest mark since the 2007-08 season with Dallas, his second in the league. He’s been effective, though, as a sparkplug off the bench. He’s averaging 7.2 points, 3.1 assists and 1.7 rebounds on a team that’s currently in fourth place in a tough Western Conference.
"It’s great. It’s different… Every game is a battle. You know how the West is, trying to get into a better situation every game,” Barea said. “… (I do) whatever they need me to do, especially off the bench, be aggressive and bring energy.”
Barea’s time in Minnesota had its ups and downs. Sometimes he was a bolt of energy of the bench. Sometimes it didn’t look like he exactly had a plan with the ball. The one thing that was constant, though, was Barea’s energy and effort level every night on the court.
He looks back at his time in Minnesota with mixed emotions, but for the most part, the feelings are positive.
“It was great. It was up and down playing wise, winning wise, but I made some good friends and met a lot of good people here. Like I said, my son was born here so a big part of my life was here. Some good times.”
- Carlisle is high on rookie Andrew Wiggins, who he’ll face for the second time this season. In his first matchup against Dallas, Wiggins finished with just five points and three rebounds. A lot has changed since Nov. 15, though. Wiggins has turned into the frontrunner for the Rookie of the Year: “He’s a tremendous young player that’s growing all the time,” Carlisle said after Wednesday’s shootaround. “(He’s) very skilled, as you can tell by his three-point numbers. He’s developing a very nice inside game to go along with his outside game.”
- The Wolves have been waiting for the return of Nikola Pekovic and Kevin Martin for about two months now. The two are still listed as questionable, but Carlisle’s team is preparing like the two will be playing: “We expect to see both of them. Last game Pekovic played was against us, so we figured it’s only fitting he comes back against us. And Martin, he had 34 against us, 37 against the Knicks when he got hurt. So he’s averaging 35.5 in a half in his last two games. I expect to see both those guys.”
- Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. tonight at the Target Center.