J.J. Barea has to wear a lot of hats during this training camp.
His No. 1 priority, of course, is his continued rehab after surgery last January to repair a ruptured Achilles tendon.
But beyond that, he’s also the senior statesman on this team and, as such, he feels a responsibility to make sure things run as smoothly as possible, particularly with the younger players.
And especially with the two young stars. He said as far back as midsummer that Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis would have good chemistry and if they didn’t, Barea would fix it.
So what’s the 13-year veteran’s opinion of how things have progressed as training camp winds down and the regular season is only a week away?
“Yeah, I see it working,” Barea said. “They’re enjoying it, and I think that’s the big thing – that they enjoy it. If they’re having fun out there, that’s all that matters. I think they both know they’re good. And they both know they could be really good together.
“And they’re helping each other out and I like that. We just got to keep putting them in good situations. I like KP coming out (of the game) a little early and staggering them a little. So it’s not bad.”
Barea, however, has been around long enough to know that it’s easy for everybody to be all warm-and-fuzzy in training camp.
But what happens in the regular season when things get more serious and dark clouds inevitably roll in at some point or another?
“That’s where you learn,” he said. “We’re going to have some losing streaks and we got to stay together when that happens and learn how to fight back. It’s going to happen. And that’s when we’ll know how we’re going to get through stuff like that. It’s a long season.”
Oh, by the way, Barea also has another semi-unimportant hat to wear on this team as the de facto director of golf among players. He’s one of the best players on the team, if not the best.
So he and his teammates got a chance to bond on Tuesday with each other and lots of corporate sponsors during the Mavs Masters golf tournament.
It served as a nice respite to get ready for what promises to be a busy upcoming week and then, a marathon regular season.
Rick Carlisle said he treated at least part of Monday’s preseason game against Oklahoma City like a dress rehearsal for the regular season.
But when the score got out of hand with the Mavericks 30-some points ahead, any thoughts of sticking to a rotation or a game plan sort of fell apart.
“Yeah, at the end of the third (quarter), it was pretty clear to me that that was enough for the regular guys,” Carlisle said. “The guys that played in the fourth have been doing a great job of competing in all the games.”
The Mavericks may still be without several rotation players in Vancouver, Canada, on Thursday during the preseason finale against the Los Angeles Clippers. But it should be a good opportunity for a lot of players against one of the preseason favorites to win the 2019-20 NBA title.
LEARNING EACH OTHER
The Mavericks want their budding stars Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis to have good chemistry on the floor and off.
But it’s not limited to them.
Delon Wright is the only Maverick who has started all four preseason games and he had his best showing Monday against the Thunder with nine points, seven rebounds, three assists and a steal in 27 minutes.
“We have great belief in his ability to be a high-level starter in this league,” Carlisle said. “That’s why we pursued him, signed him, traded draft picks to Memphis not to match and he’s gotten better each game.
“He’s gotten more familiar with our guys each game. We need him to continue the trend that he’s continuing. His shooting is going to get better and better because he’s worked real hard at it (this summer).
“He’s the kind of guy everybody loves to play with because he’s a great teammate, he’s a man of few words and he plays the game the right way and he plays to win.”