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Monday, February 14, 2011
Rick Carlisle's dilemma: Breaking in Roddy

By Jeff Caplan

DALLAS -- Dallas Mavericks guard Roddy Beaubois might make his long-awaited debut Wednesday against the Sacramento Kings.

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"That’s what it’s looking like," center Tyson Chandler said. "The way he was moving [at practice] today and taking full contact and going through the full practice for the first time, he looked great."

Whether Beaubois returns Wednesday, Thursday or after All-Star Weekend, how should coach Rick Carlisle break in the youngster after a five-plus month layoff? Beaubois hasn't played in a game since the Summer League in July and he hasn't competed in an NBA game since April 29 in Game 6 of the first-round loss.

"So far so good," Beaubois said after Monday's practice. "It went well so it’s a good sign. I just need to keep going like this. It is going to be day-by-day. I'll practice [Tuesday] and then we’ll see how it goes and coach will make a decision."

Will Carlisle gradually work Beaubois in off the bench at the position Jason Terry is the sixth man, or immediately start him in place of DeShawn Stevenson? Terry seems to know what he would do.

"I think you put him out there and see what he’s got," Terry said. "It ain’t going to hurt. We only got 20-something games left in the regular season. We need to see now what this kid can do."

The Mavs have 28 games left and are just four games into integrating Peja Stojakovic into the starting lineup. The plan prior to Beaubois breaking his foot in August was presumably to start him at shooting guard and sprinkle him in at point guard. Whether he immediately takes over as a starter will be up to Carlisle, and he won't divulge that information until the league mandates he turn in his official lineup an hour or so before Wednesday's tipoff. Even then, Beaubois, of course, will have to be active.

Carlisle provided few clues into his thinking after Monday's practice, Beaubois' first full-on session that included five-on-five scrimmages and full contact. On one hand, Carlisle said he wants to maintain consistency within the rotation, which might suggest that he's reluctant to mess with the starting lineup again.

However, Carlisle later added this fact about Beaubois: "The thing about him that is exciting for us is the one thing he established last year is that he was an effective player at the 2-position with Jason Kidd," Carslisle said. "That was the one consistent thing that he established last year."

So interpret that any way you like.

But, also keep in mind that Carlisle likes to put players in the role he sees them in for the long haul. To keep Shawn Marionon the bench, Carlisle opted to start Sasha Pavlovic at small forward for the final six games he played with Dallas, and to immediatley start Stojakovic.

Of course, it's easier to plug in a veteran at a shallow position depth-wise, than a second-year guard who played 56 games as a rookie at a deep position.

Stevenson, whom Carlisle called a "god-send" Monday for his solid play after going from the 11th man to emergency starter in the second week of the season, realizes that his minutes will likely be scaled back to make room for Beaubois.

"Obviously, he’s going to get minutes. My minutes are going to come. That’s where you just have to be a professional," Stevenson said. "I’ve proved what I can do and if he gets the minutes, I’ve just got to be ready. In the West, we’ve got taller defenders so I might get in some games, or not. You never know what’s going to happen. You’ve just got to stay ready. It’s a part of the business."

And it certainly will be interesting to see how Carlisle plays his backcourt cards. Jason Kidd and Terry are going to get their 30 minutes. J.J. Barea has played brilliantly over the past four weeks or so and has averaged 25 minutes a game in February. Stevenson has certainly made a case, through good defense and 40 percent 3-point shooting to remain in the rotation.

Carlisle said he doesn't see the addition of Beaubois having much, if any, effect on minutes currently doled out to Terry and Barea. Terry said adding Beaubois this late into the season, even at a crowded position, is a good problem for Carlisle and the team to have.

"We’re all about team here," Terry said. "As long as it translates into wins for us, we don’t have a problem with it. Now, if he comes in and it’s affecting everybody, there might be a little rift here and there, but nothing we can’t work out. It’s a good problem to have."