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NBA's best bench players: No. 5 Jose Barea

NBALos Angeles LakersBasketballJose BareaOrlando MagicMiami HeatDallas Mavericks

Almost everybody who has played basketball since grade school wants to be a starter. But in the NBA, even quality players must be resigned to coming off the bench.

It's a job that calls for stars to swallow their pride and ego, and sacrifice for the team.

This week, we're ranking the Top 10 bench players in the league, based largely on last season's performance. One requirement: Players must come off the bench for more games than they start.

Think a player's ranking is too high or too low? Voice your opinion by writing in the comments field below.

Jose Barea

Bench ranking: 5th

Current team: Dallas Mavericks

Height/weight: 6-0, 175

Age on June 26, 2011: 27

Seasons in NBA: 5

Total games played off bench/starts: 79/2.

Stats coming off bench: Barea, playing behind aging Jason Kidd, averaged 9.5 and 3.9 assists per game in 20.5 minutes. He shot 44 percent from the field and 84 percent from the foul-line. More importantly, Barea was key during the Mavs' title run. He averaged 8.9 points and 3.2 assists over 21 postseason games, including two double-digit games to help close out the Miami Heat in the Finals. In the Mavs' Game 4 win and sweep of the Lakers, Barea had 22 points and befuddled the Lakers' defense to the point that Lakers center Andrew Bynum clotheslined him in frustration and was ejected.

What makes him a terrific bench player: He makes the most of his minutes on the floor and can direct a veteran team. What makes Barea a tough cover is his quickness to the basket, able to penetrate the lane at will despite his size.

bschmitz@tribune.com. Read his blog at OrlandoSentinel.com/magicblog. Subscribe to our Orlando Magic newsletter at OrlandoSentinel.com/joinus.

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