Originally posted on Fox Sports North  |  By PHIL ERVIN  |  Last updated 9/19/13
This is the ninth in a 17-part series profiling each player on the Timberwolves' roster leading up to training camp. There are certainly less enviable scenarios a veteran NBA point guard could find himself in. J.J. Barea enters the eighth year of his career as the favorite to back up Timberwolves star Ricky Rubio. The 6-foot, 175-pound Puerto Rican is due a nice chunk of change this season and looks both sharp and healthy coming off a strong international showing this summer. But two years ago, Barea showed his team, the league and himself he's capable of more. His breakout performance in the 2011 NBA Finals with Dallas remains Barea's claim to fame. If he's able to recapture more of that off-the-bench 3-point shooting and energy, he could create another in the Twin Cities. There will only be so many opportunities. 2012-13 stats: 11.3 PPG, 4.0 APG, 34.6 3-pt PCT, 23.1 MPG 2013 salary: 4,687,000 Last year: Barea maintained a steady stream of contribution in his second year with the Timberwolves, putting up the exact same scoring numbers he had in 2011-12 after signing with Minnesota as a free agent. He did so while riding a convoluted carousel of guards, sharing time at the one spot with both Rubio -- once he was healthy -- and Alexey Shved. Despite the Timberwolves' many injury issues, Barea's minutes actually dipped by about two per game as coach Rick Adelman tried to create some minutes for Shved, a rookie. A scoring point guard in contrast to Rubio, Barea was the best 3-point shooter on the league's worst team from beyond the arc. He could be counted on for 1.3 made 3s per game. Not exactly the stuff prolific scorers are made of. But Barea's M.O. is more of an offense manager and shot chooser who can pop off the occasional big bucket. Never was that more evident than the 2011 championship series in which he hit 4-of-5 3-pointers in Game 5 against Miami and scored 15 points in the Game 6 clincher. During the offseason, Barea was brought up as a possible trade piece that could help alleviate the team's point-guard logjam. But that asset wound up being Luke Ridnour, who was dealt to Milwaukee in the three-team deal that brought Kevin Martin to Minnesota. This year: While he resonates as the primary candidate to spell Rubio, Barea will have to beat out Shved for reserve point duties. Shved may play some two, and Barea could, too, given his ability to hit from outside. But president of basketball operations Flip Saunders said the team plans to give Barea a more distinct role than the ambiguous one he had last season. He's too good of a ballhandler and distributor (4.8 assists per game for his career) to spend too much time on the wing or wonder where he stands on the depth chart. So behind Rubio it is, then. Saunders expects a raring-to-go Barea when training camp opens in Mankato Oct. 1. He already appears in prime game shape, having played 14 international contests in less than a month. Barea earned MVP honors in the Tuto Marchand Cup, then scored 14 points per game and dished a team-high 3.8 assists per game as Puerto Rico finished second in the FIBA Americas Championship, which features international teams from all over the Western Hemisphere. From the front office: "I think he'll be more identified. He's gonna be able to get more comfortable, do the things that he can do and be effective like he was when he was in Dallas where he's a main reason they won a championship, because of how he played. A lot is going to get him to that comfort role. Your team gets better also whenever the second unit gets better. The players and the depth that we've added has made our second unit better." -- Saunders Follow Phil Ervin on Twitter
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Lionel Messi’s suspension puts Argentina in danger of missing World Cup

Report: Chris Long signs one-year deal with Eagles

Witten signs four-year extension with Cowboys

Stan Van Gundy: Georgetown should go all-out to hire Ewing

Hue Jackson: Browns are not interested in Colin Kaepernick

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: 'Strong belief' Jay Cutler won't play in 2017

Falcons GM wants to change OT rules after SB loss to Patriots

LaVar Ball reportedly shopping reality TV projects

Report: Cowboys likely to release Romo before OTAs

Report: Rule banning leaping FG blocks expected to pass

Top eight takeways from Raiders’ relocation to Las Vegas

The Raiders will forever belong to Oakland

Box Score 3/28: Wilt's last game

Best, worst and hard to stomach MLB offseason moves

The 28 craziest ballpark foods for the 2017 season

The Rewind: George Mason's improbable run to the Final Four

Baseball movies you can stream now to hold you over until Opening Day

Best of Yardbarker: Did Team USA's victory save the World Baseball Classic?

Breaking down the Naismith Award race

Box Score 3/24: Waiting on West Virginia

Eat, Drink, Watch: Weekends are for upsets

The 'Once again, Barry Bonds is the best power hitter in San Francisco' quiz

With Team USA's victory, World Baseball Classic (finally) lived up to its potential

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The Raiders will forever belong to Oakland

Best, worst and hard to stomach MLB offseason moves

The Rewind: George Mason's improbable run to the Final Four

Baseball movies you can stream now to hold you over until Opening Day

Best of Yardbarker: Did Team USA's victory save the World Baseball Classic?

Breaking down the Naismith Award race

Eat, Drink, Watch: Weekends are for upsets

The 'Once again, Barry Bonds is the best power hitter in San Francisco' quiz

The NFL distraction playbook

With Team USA's victory the WBC (finally) lived up to its potential

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker