Second-year guard Roddy Beaubois is expected to make his season debut on Wednesday night, when the Mavericks host the slumping Sacramento Kings. Earl K. Sneed previews the matchup.
DALLAS — Mavericks fans have been not so patiently awaiting the season debut of second-year guard Roddy Beaubois for 54 games. They get their wish Wednesday night.
After dazzling Dallas fans with a 16-point performance off the bench in Game 6 of the Mavericks’ first-round playoff series defeat at the hands of the San Antonio Spurs last season, Beaubois developed a cult-like following that has made his legend grow by the day even after he suffered a fractured left foot that required surgery in the offseason.
Now, after rehabbing and battling his way back, Beaubois is expected to make his long-awaited return to the court on Wednesday night against the lowly Sacramento Kings (13-39), a team the Mavericks (38-16) have already beaten twice on the road by a combined four points earlier in the season.
“I expect him at this point to be active (Wednesday night),” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said of Beaubois’ return. “I don’t know how many minutes he’s gonna play, but I expect him to be active.”
But even Carlisle has to lower the expectations placed atop the budding star’s head as the “final piece of the puzzle,” noting that Beaubois has been out of basketball for six months due to the injury.
“We’ve gone through this period of healing, conditioning and working on rhythm as much as you can do without playing in games, which has culminated in a couple of team practices which has been positive. And going forward, my expectations are that we’re gonna try to get him some minutes when we can. And I would just caution everyone to just temper this with some realistic expectations. I mean, it’s just gonna be hard coming off of six months without playing and coming back into a game,” Carlisle said.
“That makes me want to work even more because [the fans] believe in me,” Beaubois added. “That pushes me and I just want to help the team.”
But after watching him in practice, Beaubois’ teammates say he is back to being the athletic spark plug that he proved to be in his rookie season, showcasing the skills that were on display when he exploded for a career-high 40 points on March 27 against Golden State.
“Watching this kid in practice, it’s gonna help us,” center Tyson Chandler said of Beaubois’ pending return. “That’s one of the things we’ve been lacking — a young, athletic, energy-type guy at the guard position that can be explosive and get out in transition by himself. And it was fun to watch. I’ve never seen him play, just heard a lot of good things about him. And seeing him in practice, it’s impressive.”
“We’ve got his back. We’re gonna support him,” forward Shawn Marion added. “It’s gonna be a slow transition for him. He’s gonna ease his way back into it.”
Beaubois may be placed in a tough position from the get-go, however, with backup point guard J.J. Barea’s status for the game unclear.
Barea left the Mavericks’ Tuesday practice early with an illness and groin issues, likely casting Beaubois into the role of second-string lead guard if the undersized floor general is unable to play. But Carlisle admits that running the point was something that Beaubois struggled with in his first season, adding that the 22-year-old excelled best as a shooting guard next to Jason Kidd in the backcourt.
Wednesday night, in just his first game action since the Summer League, Beaubois may be asked to steady the backup point guard responsibilities behind Kidd in Barea’s stead.
“There’s a chance, if [Barea] is unavailable, that Roddy could see significant minutes. And if not, we’ll see,” Carlisle said. “[Beaubois] has been best at the 2 position. But if Barea is not available, he’s gonna have to play (at point guard).”
Meanwhile, the Mavericks will try to do what they’ve struggled with in their first two meetings with the Kings — shake the Sacramento squad into submission before the game’s final possession.
Both matchups between the two squads at Arco Arena were decided on late-game stands by the Dallas defense. And as the Mavericks finished off the first chapter of the season with a road-home back-to-back — including Thursday night’s trip to Phoenix — before the All-Star break, they know it will once again take a 48-minute effort to dethrone the Kings.
Even as the Mavs add Beaubois into the fold to further deepen a talent-laden roster.
“We’re a deep, talented team. And it is what it is, we’re gonna go out there and compete and win,” Marion said. ”We want to win. And I think at the end of the day, if everybody wants to win and everybody is on the same page, then everything else will take care of itself.”
Note: The Mavs return to the American Airlines Center on Wednesday night to host the Sacramento Kings. That matchup will tip off at 7:30 p.m. CT, airing locally on Fox Sports Southwest. Great seats are still available and tickets can be purchased by visiting the American Airlines Center box office, logging on to Mavs.com or by calling 214-747-MAVS (6287).
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