Saturday, March 27, 2010
Roddy B's 40 should turn Carlisle's head
By Tim MacMahon
OAKLAND, Calif. -- It's Rick Carlisle's responsibility to find room in the Dallas Mavericks' rotation for Rodrigue Beaubois.
The rookie guard is simply too talented to sit.
That was obvious to the 19,104 fans at Oracle Arena who spent their Saturday night buzzing about Beaubois while he scored at will in a 111-90 rout of the Golden State Warriors. It has to be clear to a coach as smart as Carlisle.
Beaubois displayed his breathtaking combination of ridiculousness quickness and a beautiful shooting stroke during his season-high 40-point performance, which matched Nick Van Exel's franchise record for points off the bench and was two points shy of Mark Aguirre's franchise record for rookie scoring. He had 21 points just in the second quarter, when he swished five of six 3-point attempts.
"I felt like I couldn't miss," said Beaubois, who made 15 of 22 shots from the floor and nine of 11 from 3-point range in 30 minutes in a go-go game tailor-made for his immense talents.
This was the most remarkable performance of the rookie's career, but it's not like it came out of nowhere. Beaubois has been lighting it up all month ... when he's actually been allowed on the floor.
"We see it a lot in practice," Dirk Nowitzki said. "He's a very, very explosive scorer. If he makes his shot, he's tough to guard because he's so good at penetrating and has a great floater and finishes in the paint. When he's on like that, he's a tough matchup for anyone."
Is it unrealistic to think Beaubois would be in the Rookie of the Year conversation with Sacramento's Tyreke Evans, Milwaukee's Brandon Jennings and Golden State's Stephen Curry if he got regular minutes? Maybe, but it's a good bet that Beaubois will be lumped with the lottery picks in future chats about the great guard class of '09.
Maybe Beaubois, the 25th overall pick in the draft, wasn't ready to make an immediate NBA splash after making the massive jump from a French pro league.
He's made tremendous progress this season, especially in the toughness department. Perhaps he still isn't prepared to play significant minutes at point guard for a team that plans on making a playoff run.
But there's no doubt Beaubois can be a valuable asset as a shooting guard. He keeps proving it when Carlisle calls his number.
Check Beaubois' stats from the eight games this month when his minutes have hit double digits. He scored 153 points (19.1 per game) on 63.4 percent shooting in 205 minutes. Yet he hasn't taken his warm-ups off in two games this month and didn't even play long enough to break a sweat in Thursday's loss in Portland.
"We'll look at it," Carlisle said when asked whether Beaubois has earned a permanent spot in the rotation. "He's earning minutes. I said all along that he's earned all the minutes that he's gotten."
Can't a team that tends to get stagnant in the halfcourt offense use a dynamic creator like that every night?
The problem is that Beaubois is buried beneath a couple of established veterans on the depth chart. It's a tough call, but Carlisle has to decide whether Beaubois' minute come at the expense of two-time All-Star Caron Butler or reigning Sixth Man of the Year Jason Terry. The rookie has at least put pressure on that pair to perform.
The 22-year-old from Guadeloupe won't lobby for playing time. He's a humble kid who knows his place as a rookie.
"I don't think about anything else," Beaubois said. "I just try to play my game and help the team win."
Hey, his play has spoken loudly enough lately.
"The great thing about Roddy is he's been ready when called upon," Carlisle said. "I'm the one who's going to have to make the decision on who plays, and I'll live with those decisions.
"This is a hot topic, hot debate. And I'm one of the creators of it, because I believe in the kid and I've put him out there a lot. Make no mistake, if there's opportunities to play him where I think he can help our team, he'll be out there."
It's hard to envision that Beaubois can't help the Mavs in every game, assuming he's focused and locked in defensively.
"The way he's been playing, you've got to give him some room somewhere," Nowitzki said. "It's not easy, but it's a problem you want to have."
It's the Mavs' opponents who really have problems with Beaubois, which is why Carlisle has to find a way to give the kid consistent playing time.
Tim MacMahon covers the Mavericks for ESPN Dallas. You can follow him on Twitter or leave a question for his weekly mailbag.