Overvaluing role players

Why players' #NBArank dropped despite producing the same numbers

Updated: September 10, 2012, 11:04 AM ET
By Tom Haberstroh | ESPN Insider
JJ BareaGary A. Vasquez/US PresswireThough his numbers remained the same, JJ Barea saw his #NBArank drop this year. Why?

After helping the Dallas Mavericks to a title in 2011, Jose Juan Barea watched his stock skyrocket at the best time possible. Barea's brief romance with the Larry O'Brien trophy was quickly followed by a timely dip into the free-agency waters.

Barea received his big payday. In December, before the lockout-shortened season kicked off, Minnesota handed the 28-year-old a four-year deal worth $18 million, a sum that was sixfold Barea's career earnings in the league.

But how did he perform in his debut? Quite well, in fact. Barea watched his 2-point shooting percentage dip last season, but he was a sniper from beyond the arc. (He made 37.1 percent on his 143 attempts from deep.) Barea also raised his assist rate from 31.2 percent in 2010-11 to 39.0 percent in his new digs. Driven by a late-season surge in which Barea averaged 16.0 points and 9.3 assists in April, Barea's PER increased ever so slightly from 14.8 in 2010-11 to 14.9 last season.

But here's the funny thing: Despite his solid play last season, Barea watched his #NBArank plummet 42 spots from 92nd to 134th.

Why the fallout?