Posted Mar 9 2010 10:35AM - Updated Mar 9 2010 7:06PM
The Roddy Beaubois Revue is sweeping through Dallas to rave, um, reviews. The rookie guard, the subject of a tongue-in-cheek Free Roddy campaign not so long ago, is stealing headlines with each stolen outlet pass as the Mavericks, now second in the Western Conference, continue to rack up wins.
"He's a talent," future Hall of Famer and teammate Jason Kidd said. "He's going to be a special player in this league."
Heady stuff for someone who's failed to get off the bench in 25 of Dallas' 65 games and is averaging only 6.3 points and 12.4 minutes a game. But what he's done in those limited opportunities is creating a buzz that's helped Mavericks fan forget past French misconnections.
Though his playing time has wavered -- a stint in the NBA D-League was considered at one point -- Beaubois has stuck it out with the big club. He's in the rotation again due to circumstance and injury, starting the last two games and logging significant minutes in the last four.
The stretch started with a night off for Kidd last week, as J.J. Barea and Beaubois handled the point guard duties against the Timberwolves. Beaubois tallied a career-high 17 points on 6-of-9 shooting, including 3-of-5 from beyond the arc, and handed out four assists.
"He has got a tremendous wingspan that allows him to do a lot of things defensively and shooting the basketball," Minnesota coach Kurt Rambis said of the 6-foot Beaubois. "We probably gave him as much confidence as any team in the league shooting the ball. He can put the ball on the floor and attack the basket and he really knows how to play off the other guys on the team.
"And he's developing a nice little handle. He's putting himself in driving situations and pick-and-roll situations. You have to honor him because he's a tremendous shooter. If you're not up on him, he's going to get it off because of the speed and quickness of his shot."
Sixth man Jason Terry fractured an orbital bone that first night against the Wolves, keeping Beaubois in Rick Carlisle's plans. The rookie scored 22 against Sacramento the next time out before moving into the starting five when the Mavericks lost center Brendan Haywood. (Dirk Nowitzki slid over to center and Beaubois joined Kidd in the backcourt.) Beaubois carved up Chicago for 24 points (10-of-17 shooting) before adding 11 Monday night at Minnesota as the Mavericks stretched their season-long winning streak to 12. Dallas has surged to second in the Western Conference.
Though he's being groomed as the heir at point guard, playing alongside Kidd has done wonders for Beaubois' confidence and production.
"It's incredible," he said. "Jason Kidd knows the game. He knows everything. He's given me some advice and I really appreciate it."
His ability to attack the rim and finish, plus his long-distance range, are just parts of the Beaubois fascination. That wingspan, a reported 6-foot-10, and a 40-inch vertical leap are redirecting shots and turning heads. Though he played only five minutes against the Lakers two weeks ago, the last image from that Dallas victory may be Beaubois spiking a Jordan Farmar shot into the baseline seats. Despite his size -- no one on the listed roster is shorter -- Beaubois has a blocked shot in four of the last five games.
"His nature as a player is to be aggressive," Carlisle said. "He's a scorer. That's his background as a player. We have encouraged him to be aggressive. We feel his advantage in an NBA game is his north-south speed and quickness and ability to attack. What we've continued to stress with him is seizing the opportunities, the good one vs. the high-risk ones, and try to take the high-risk ones out of the equation."
Beaubois still struggles at times with that. After a couple of missed assignments early in Monday night's game, Carlisle pulled the rookie and delivered a teaching point before Beaubois could take a seat on the bench. Despite his raw skills, the NBA remains new for the 22-year-old native of Guadeloupe.
Basketball is gaining a foothold in Beaubois' country. The French island chain is home to Magic swingman Mickael Pietrus and Nuggets center Johan Petro is one of the nation's descendants. Beaubois, whose first name is Rodrigue, was "discovered" at a camp sponsored by Pietrus and made his pro debut in 2006 in France's top pro league.
The Thunder actually drafted the relative unknown with the 25th pick last summer and traded him to Dallas in a prearranged deal for Byron Mullens, the 24th selection. Beaubois dazzled in Summer League and continued to open eyes during the preseason, especially at the offensive end. He was a spot starter in November as Carlisle experimented with the shooting guard rotation with Josh Howard out.
His playing time dwindled for much of the next three months. But Beaubois had 13 points and three steals in a 50-point blowout win at New York in late January. And he scored a then-career-high 17 against Minnesota on Feb. 5. Three of Beaubois' eight double-digit scoring games have come against Minnesota.
Watching mostly from the bench until the recent spike in playing time was an adjustment.
"It hasn't been easy because you never know when you are going to play," Beaubois said. "So it is a tough situation, but everybody tried to work with me and they talk to me a lot. So even when I don't play I think I learn a lot. I just have to be patient and keep working on the floor and be ready."
There's an audible reaction when Beaubois steps on the American Airlines Center floor these days, a welcome change for those who have followed the history of French players in Dallas. The Mavericks' last two forays into France during the Mark Cuban/Donnie Nelson Era ended poorly. Tariq Abdul-Wahad was banished from the team at the end of his Mavs' run five years ago, while Antoine Rigaudeau was supposed to be the point forward of former coach Don Nelson's dreams in 2003. Rigaudeau was left off the playoff roster.
The wide-eyed, baby-faced Beaubois continues to work hard in practice, and has begun to make his mark in a crowded and deep rookie class. He is one of five first-year pros, according to Elias, to score at least 18 points in a quarter this season, joining Tyreke Evans, Brandon Jennings, A.J. Price and Marcus Thornton. Beaubois is shooting 50 percent from the floor, 38.4 percent on 3-pointers and 81.3 percent from the line. No rookie in league history has had a 50-40-80 season, and Beaubois was on pace for that until missing 8-of-9 threes in the last two games.
"I'm feeling more confident out there and my teammates have been talking to me," he said, "and every day I'm feeling better."
Terry will be back in about 10 days and Barea has a considerable edge in experience, which means that Beaubois' time on the floor is likely to go down before it heads back up again.
That's OK. The Roddy Beaubois Revue will have its run.
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