Point guard J.J. Barea is one of two players on the Dallas Mavericks roster with 10 or more years of experience in the NBA. Courtney Lee is the other.
Barea is a link to Dallas’ greatest feat in its NBA existence. He’s the one remaining player on the roster from the team’s 2010-11 championship squad. (After a three-season stint with the Minnesota Timberwolves from 2011 to 2014, he returned to the Mavericks.)
Barea, a 13th-year veteran, has mostly followed the action from the bench this season. He’s appeared in one of 12 Mavs games through the weekend. In that game, he provided a big spark: 11 points and three assists in 15 minutes against the visiting Orlando Magic on Nov. 6.
Barea is working his way back into the rotation after sustaining a right Achilles tendon rupture in January.
In a recent interview with D Magazine, Barea mentioned that he’s grown comfortable in his role as a team leader and a mentor to the younger guys.
“With Dirk (Nowitzki) gone, with Devin Harris not here, now I really feel it’s on me to keep the same example going,” Barea was quoted as saying. “And I’ll even talk a little bit more. I am ready. I’m ready to talk and help call these guys out on sportsmanship.”
He added: “I want to coach after (my playing days). So this is going to really help me.”
J.J. Barea, energetic and hard-working, also revealed that he can see himself playing for up to three more years.
As a result, he said, “I still can move. I still can play. I still can score the ball, and the game comes easier to me now. For sure one more, maybe three. I would love three more. So we’ll see.”
Recovering from a major injury
Speaking to D Magazine, the Puerto Rican sports icon also discussed his Achilles injury and how he’s coped with the challenges of physical rehabilitation.
“I’m glad it happened later in my career,” Barea told the magazine. “I know how to deal with it. I know how to work. But I’m lucky: I’ve got amazing staff here, from the trainers to the doctors to the weight room guys. It was my first summer that I stayed completely in Dallas. I usually go back to Puerto Rico. They took care of me, man. They took care of me from day one. It’s feeling good right now. I’m hooping.”
Asked about being the last member of the 2011 title-winning team still on the roster, Barea responded by saying, “Still here and I’m just enjoying it, man. This is the time of my life. Just older now, and I got kids, family, and I have a great situation. I couldn’t be happier where I’m at. Puerto Rico will always be my home, but I’m planning on staying here forever, you know? I want to raise my kids in Dallas, and my wife loves it.”