When the Mavericks announced they were bringing J.J. Barea back into the fold, I was disappointed. I didn't think that the addition of yet another undersized, defensively inept guard was what the Mavericks needed. It wasn't the first time I had felt this way. I wasn't a big fan of Barea prior to the 2011 playoffs. I thought he shot too much, was too small to compete defensively, and generally janked up a beautiful, flow-centric offense.
He proved me wrong in 2011, and he proved me wrong again in 2014. There were times this season where J.J. Barea was the Mavericks' best point guard. There were times when Barea was the most effective point guard. Sure, he only averaged 7.5 points and 3.4 assists per game, but his influence went beyond that. He continually attacked the basket. He shot the ball relatively well, especially late in the season. In the playoff series against Houston, while Rondo was in the process of quitting and Devin Harris was banged up, Barea averaged 11.8 points, 7.4 assists, and 4.8 rebounds per game.
He is still lacking defensively, and still has obvious limits, but once again Barea overachieved (based on my expectations), and proved that he was a capable backup. Ultimately, Barea was a key element for the Mavericks in the 2014-15 season, and should be appreciated for what he is, rather than criticized for what he isn't.
J.J. Barea enters the offseason as an unrestricted free agent, but he's been open about his desire to stay in Dallas, even saying it will be a lot easier for Dallas to keep him this time around. That point is two-fold, of course, as Dallas will not have to overpay him 1) because he will gladly take less money to stay in what, for him, is a good situation, and 2) nobody is going to come knocking with a 4-year, $18 million deal this time around.
However, one can question whether or not Dallas can logically keep Barea. Dallas will already carry Devin Harris and Raymond Felton into the 2015-16 season, and with a hole still existing at the starting PG position, one has to ask if carrying four point guards is wise when there are still several other holes to address (starting SG, assuming Monta opts out, starting C, backup SF & PF).
I would like to see Barea back with Dallas in 2015-16, but it will have to come at the right price, and it cannot come at the cost of addressing another need.