As the ball went in after a high arching shot his mentor Jason Kidd was happy on how the 25 year old Puerto Rican Iverson has achieved. They have been practicing and exchanging notes getting ready for another NBA season and Jose Juan Barea the 5-foot-10 point guard has been listening intensely to Jason Kidd’s piece of advice. Being undersized works to JJ’s advantaged he can overwhelm his opponents with his speed and make their ankle break with his killer cross-overs but his 5-foot-10 frame made him undrafted in 2006. In spite of his impressive resume with collegiate accolades many teams felt he will give them more drawbacks against bigger and stronger guards. They will just post-up or hit a turnaround jumper with ease. For JJ it was a constant struggle of trying to prove his worth.
When no team want his services in 2006 he work hard and played in the league’s offseason tournament to gain a contract as a free agent. Everyone doubted him except JJ himself he scored 12 points, 6.7 assists and 1.7 rebounds which caught the eye of the Dallas Mavericks.
Barea got some minutes when players such as Jason Terry and Devin Harris got injured it was a continuous struggle with him being the third string on the Mavericks roster. It was a known commodity among undersize pointguards with the likes of Mugsy Bogues, Earl Boykins and Spud Webb that they are seldom used during long stretches especially in crucial games such as the Playoffs.
Before suiting up in Dallas he had to play in the D-league first before the NBA and JJ overwhelmed the NBA’s developmental league with back to back 40 point games.
Never tell Barea his undersize because he will come back to you in bunches. When we all think height is might JJ differs on that thought. Anyone can play in the NBA as long as you put your heart to it.
Thank God for players such as JJ it inspires us and any other 5-foot-something dreamer like me.