Mavs’ Rick Carlisle ‘optimistic’ about J.J. Barea’s comeback
"I’m very optimistic that he’s going to make a comeback to the court successful. He has a history of being a very good healer." — Carlisle on J. J. Barea, who underwent right Achilles tendon surgery on Jan. 14
— Dwain Price (@DwainPrice) March 9, 2019
Barea underwent successful surgery on his Achilles on January 14 and is expected to miss 8-12 months. The Puerto Rican guard was averaging 10.9 points, 5.6 assists, and 2.5 rebounds for the Mavs before the injury, and with him being sidelined, Dallas lost an offensive option off the bench, which literally hurt their chances of making the playoffs this season.
The 13-year veteran has been an integral part of the Mavs’ success, including their 2011 title run which saw him torch the Miami Heat defense off the bench.
Barea indeed can return from an Achilles tear, but the question is how effective will he be? He’s already 34-years-old and nearing the end of his career. The last player to suit up after an Achilles injury at the same age was Kobe Bryant, and he was never the same.
The 27-year-old DeMarcus Cousins also recently returned from injury, but while he seems to be regaining confidence in playing basketball, obvious signs of rust are still showing from time to time, and it is also unclear if he will be able to become the best player on a team, which was clearly the case when he was still with the Sacramento Kings.
But Barea isn’t a star player on this league. He’s been a role player for most of his career, and if he can be effective off the bench for the Mavs or any other team, he will continue to have a role in the NBA.