JJ Barea has his limitations, that is a given. Historically, the guard's three-point shooting has not been seen as a negative in his game. Barea has shot 33% from beyond the arc over the past four seasons with the Mavericks and reached a respectable 35.7% each of the last two seasons. The start to this season proved to be a rough start as, at one point in the season, Barea shot 14% from three-point range. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it was the lowest percentage from beyond long range among NBA players with at least 50 three-point attempts.
The point guard out of Puerto Rico was recently a guest on the Mavericks Outsider Report and he commented on the behind the scenes work that is done when a player is in the midst of a slump.
When talking about slumps, "That's going to happen, I think you just have to stay positive," Barea said. "You’ve just got to trust your game, trust that if your shot isn’t going in that it’s just not working right now." It clearly wasn't working early in the season but now, Barea is starting to roll as he has shot 47.6% (10-21) from three-point range in the month of January.
Putting in extra work helps and Barea has done that as he spends extra time on the court after practices and shootarounds working on his mechanics. Assistant Coach Darrell Armstrong has been by Barea's side along the way and will coach, cheer and heckle the guard throughout the process. Barea also challenges himself to get better by going up against some of the team's strongest shooters (Dirk Nowitzki and Roddy Beaubois) in three-point contests. Barea uses those challenges as motivation to get better.
He also believes that a solid support system goes a long way in riding through a tough personal stretch. "You’ve got to have people believe in you, your closest friends, your family and especially your teammates and your coaches that keep believing you and keep telling you to shoot," Barea explained. "At some point it is going to go in and it’s coming back now."
Coach Rick Carlisle has been a firm believer in Barea and even more of a believer in the system. He will always mention that players need to stick to the systematic approach when playing the game. For any Maverick player in the midst of a slump, the coach and coaching staff will always have a belief in the player and encourage them to keep playing and the results will eventually follow. Barea knew that he just needs to stay positive, avoid over-thinking and just play the game.
Barea may have limitations but he is doing everything he can to show that the shooting woes to start the season were nothing more than a slump and that he can rise above it.