Posted Feb 17 2011 8:26AM
A savior of sorts returned Wednesday night for the Mavericks. The same Mavericks employing a former MVP, perennial All-Star and future Hall of Fame power forward. The same Mavericks with another future Springfield resident at point guard. The same Mavericks with the Sixth Man of the Year favorite.
The same Mavericks residing in second place in the Western Conference and only a Thursday night date at Phoenix (TNT, 10:30 p.m.) from the All-Star break. If a team ever needed saving, these Mavericks wouldn't seem to qualify.
Maybe you haven't heard the legend of Roddy B.
The same Roddy B with 57 career games under his belt, including Wednesday night's season debut. The same Roddy B with a career scoring average a smidge above seven points per game. The same Roddy B rehabbing a broken foot for the last six months.
The last guy coming back from a busted wheel missed with such fervor by a franchise (and its fan base) now owns the Charlotte Bobcats. That the same passion has stirred for Roddy B is, well, stirring.
To be fair, Rodrique Beaubois, as he is officially known, didn't ask for such adulation or pressure. For the French-speaking native of Guadeloupe, asking or answering anything in English is still more of a chore than a natural exercise.
As for putting the ball in the basket, effortless comes to mind. Roddy B dazzled in limited minutes last season, showcasing an effortless stroke and Derrick Rose/Russell Westbrook-like baseline-to-baseline quicks. Beaubois shot better than 50 percent from the floor, 40 percent from beyond the 3-point arc and 80 percent from the line -- the first rookie in NBA history to do so.
He also sat for long stretches. DNP-CDs were commonplace. Dallas coach Rick Carlisle didn't fully trust this shooting guard in a point guard's body. The Mavs already had one of those in J.J. Barea. Beaubois, expected to the Jason Kidd's heir apparent, only seemed to thrive playing alongside Kidd.
"The one thing he established last year is that he was an effective player at the 2-position with Jason Kidd," Carlisle said earlier this week. "That was the one consistent thing that he established last year. He showed a lot of flashes of brilliance, but never got any real traction in any other area consistently."
Beaubois was supposed to dig into the playmaker role last offseason. He played point guard exclusively during Summer League, and the plan was to do the same with the French national team during the FIBA World Championship.
A broken foot in August derailed those plans and a "setback" in October pushed a potential Opening Night return to February. In the meantime, Mavs fans seemingly held a Roddy B vigil awaiting any news of progress and his start date for 2010-11. But the Dallas faithful weren't the only ones sitting on pins and needles as Beaubois walked in a boot.
Dirk Nowitzki freely talked about the explosiveness and unpredictably the Mavs were missing without the 22-year-old 6-footer. Kidd and Jason Terry often reminded those who would ask that Dallas wasn't whole without Beaubois' talents.
That players of the stature of Nowitzki, Kidd and Terry -- three of the best in the league at their respective positions -- wouldn't gloss over questions about a youngster with such a limited résumé is telling in itself.
Glimpses of the new Roddy B were on display Wednesday in Dallas' 16-point win over Sacramento. Playing after just three full practices, Beaubois logged 21 draining minutes, poured in 13 points and wasn't shy in the process, getting up 13 shots and knocking six. He added six assists and three steals.
"It was tough, but it was the first one," Beaubois said. "And I need a couple of games. It's always good to have the first game and get the win."
Other than a sellout crowd waiting with bated breath for his first appearance, the lottery-bound Kings -- who were without leading-scorer Tyreke Evans -- provided the right backdrop for stress-free return.
"It was a great game for him to come back, in the sense that there's no pressure," Kidd said. "Just to make him feel comfortable. We want him to penetrate and get to the basket first before he looks to pass."
Carlisle has tried to temper the expectations on Beaubois, especially over the last week as the move to the active roster became likely. He also admitted the team was pretty excited about getting Roddy B back.
"I thought it was, all things considered, pretty solid," Carlisle said. "Predictably, there were some ups and downs, but the important thing was he was able to get involved. Twenty-one minutes is good minutes for his first time back, and we were able to stagger it over three or four stretches of the game. A lot of positives."
So while maybe he's not exactly a savior, he is Roddy B. These Mavericks are done waiting.
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