J.J. will be a combo guard, much like Ricky & Lee. Some question whether a 5-11 guard can really play off the ball and be successful on both ends of the floor. Obviously the Wolves don't intend on starting or playing Barea off the ball all the time, however in Rick Adelman's system he's proven he can make it work. Examples on his teams throughout his coaching career: Terry Porter & Danny Ainge in Portland, Mike Bibby & Bobby Jackson in Sacramento, and Kyle Lowry & Aaron Brooks in Houston. There's no doubt a Rubio--Barea backcourt will work.
At the press conference Barea fielded some questions regarding his decision to play for Minnesota after it became apparent the Mavericks didn't intend on resigning him. The main reason..."Minnesota showed me the most interest. Also the system--Rick Adelman is a great coach," said J.J. I assume, he means by the "most interest"--the "most money". As the Wolves shelled out 4-years and $19M--the only other bidder? The New York Knicks offering a year and $2.5M. In J.J.'s case he chose money over a contender.
Barea says he'll be ready to practice tomorrow. He couldn't today because his deal wasn't completely finalized. He does seem happy to be playing with this bunch however, "I played with Kevin in some exhibition games. He's a great dude. There are a lot of good guys here. It will be fun."
David Kahn seems equally excited about J.J. joining the team and knows his leadership will be invaluable, "J.J. will help all twelve guys as far as leadership goes. He proved he can lead--during the 2011 postseason."
From undrafted free agent, to the D-League, to the Mavericks in 2006 and finally to a champion in 2011, J.J. has a rags to riches-esque story, hopefully those riches will still be worth it in 2015 when he's 31!
Luke Ridnour is one Timberwolf, however, they may not be all to thrilled with Barea's arrival. He's reportedly declined comments the past few days and has some concerns as to whether playing time will be split equally among the Wolves' three point guards. Adelman says, "I've got to put the best players I have out on the floor and our three point guards are all good players." They may put him at ease for now, however I suspect that by the March Trade Deadline, Luke won't be donning a TWolves uni. I do believe he'll be here for at least the first third of the season however!
Rick Adelman likes the signing (though, David Kahn says Adelman definitely played a part in J.J. becoming a TWolf) as he's certainly worried with the teams carefree ballhandling & passing, "I don't think I've ever seen a group that's as good at turning the ball over as this one," Adelman states. He did inherit the team that led the League in turnover last season. Adelman later joked (somewhat), "I just told them (the team) I petitioned the League to give us a point for every turnover and they denied it." Funny, however it won't be if it continues to happen. Hopefully J.J. will be able to help with that, "The way we're handling the ball, I need ballhandlers on the floor and guys who can make plays," Adelman says--and Barea certainly fits that bill.
Ricky Rubio is also excited about the Barea signing. Hmm, everyone seems to be, but I still feel uneasy--maybe it's just me? Anyway...Rubio took to Twitter yesterday to welcome J.J. to Minnesota, "just finish the practice. Happy to have a champion in our team. Welcome J.J. I can't wait to start playing some games."
OTHER NOTES: Just two quick ones for ya.....Former TWolves head coach Kurt Rambis (now working for ESPN as an analyst of sorts) was talking on ESPN last night about the Chris Paul trade that included the Timberwolves' first round pick in the 2012 draft that went from the Clippers to the Hornets. In reference to that pick, Rambis stated, ".....and we can't forget that first round pick from Minnesota--that you know is going to be a lottery pick....." Rambis--obviously taking the opportunity to take shot at his former squad. Obviously, he's envious that he was fired and replaced by a REAL head coach and I simply can't wait till that pick becomes higher than most anticipate....maybe 10-16?--which is still good for the 2012 draft which is projected to be--possibly--one of the strongest in recent memory.......And lastly, the Timberwolves waived Devean George and Will Conroy yesterday. Both were training camp invitees. George, wanted to remain with the Wolves as possibly a player development coach, if he didn't get a spot on the roster, no word on whether the Wolves will do so, however with two guys already on staff in the PD area, chances are slim.
That's all for now, thanks for reading and remember to check back daily for all your Timberwolves news, information and updates all year round. GO WOLVES!