Thursday, July 15, 2010
Updated: July 16, 1:18 PM ET
Learning curve bends Mavs' Beaubois
By Jeff Caplan
LAS VEGAS -- The biggest problem with Rodrigue Beaubois during his one-step-forward, two-steps-back education in this Point Guard 101 summer crash course is that he was too good as a drop-dead scorer in the limited time coach Rick Carlisle afforded him at shooting guard last season.
Now that the Dallas Mavericks brass has determined that the young Frenchman will be their point guard of the future, despite never having played the position at any level, he's going through some definite growing pains during his second summer league.
Instead of blowing up all these rookies and fringe players who'll be making a living in Europe or the D-League in a few months, he's overthinking and slow to react.
Is Roddy as good as we thought? Is he really capable of playing the point? How can he manage to stay on the floor for 25 minutes a night in the NBA if he's practically fouling out of every summer league game?
Through four of five games here in the desert, Beaubois has indeed been inconsistent. Too many turnovers (19), too many fouls (22), not enough assists (13) and too many missed shots (39.6 percent), especially from downtown, where he's just 5-of-22 (22.7 percent).
But what must be remembered is that this is advanced point guard training. Beaubois will primarily be playing shooting guard next season with expectations that he can back up Jason Kidd in a more expansive role as the season progresses. Still, J.J. Barea remains on the roster to handle those duties, as he has the past two seasons.
The 22-year-old Beaubois isn't cutting himself any slack. He wasn't happy after Thursday's scoreless outing and an 88-82 loss to No. 1 draft pick John Wall and the Washington Wizards. For a guy who says he's still struggling with his English, he had no trouble finding the words to condemn for his summer performances.
"Terrible. Terrible," he said in his soft French accent. "I play really bad. But there's one more game. I just need to get focused and play."
From the tip, Beaubois did have an awful night, all right. He picked up four fouls in the opening six minutes, and five in nine minutes of action. He missed all three of his shot attempts, had one assist, one rebound and three turnovers -- one coming on a pass that he fumbled out of bounds. He immediately looked down and shook his head, knowing that a lapse in concentration caused the error.
He ultimately played less than 16 minutes because he tweaked his right ankle in the first half, and after Beaubois began limping early in the third quarter, Monte Mathis, the Mavs' summer league coach, decided to pull him. But Beaubois said his frustrations Thursday stemmed from his sluggish start in an anticipated matchup against Wall.
"I'm frustrated a little bit because I would think I could play better," he said. "I have made a lot of tough mistakes. For sure, that is bad, but it's good because I am learning from that. I turn the ball over too much.
"It is two very different responsibilities," he said of playing shooting guard and point guard. "Last year when I was going in, I was called on to be aggressive. Now it is to run the team, so it is different. I am working on it."
He got a good look at his point guard counterpart, as Wall fought off poor shooting (4-of-19) to lead the Wizards with 21 points by commanding his team and doing a little bit of everything. Wall got to the free throw line 15 times, making 13 of his shots. He dished out 10 assists for his second double-double in three summer games, and he also grabbed seven rebounds -- four on the offensive glass.
Wall has 28 assists in three games. Beaubois has only 13 in four games.
"I'm frustrated a little bit because I would think I could play better,"
"He's a scorer right now. Now he's learning how to be a playmaker," said Mavs assistant coach and former NBA point guard Darrell Armstrong of Beaubois. "He'll struggle for right now. But once it clicks, once he starts realizing stuff, he'll pick it up. But right now it's going to take him some time, because it's hard to come out here and play and to think. At the 2-guard, he just plays; there's no thinking. It's just playing basketball."
In fact, the best pure point guard on the squad right now is Harvard's Jeremy Lin, who had a terrific game Thursday with 13 points as he played 27 minutes with Beaubois on the bench for the majority of the second half. First-round draft pick Dominique Jones, who penetrated his way to a game-high 28 points for his best game of the summer, is more seasoned at the point after four years as a combo guard at South Florida.
"It's very inconsistent right now, but this is why we got him at summer camp, to learn the point guard position," Armstrong said. "He's still learning how to run a team first. He's got to find out how he can get his shot off and keep guys involved. This is a good experience for him."
Jeff Caplan covers the Mavericks for ESPNDallas.com. You can follow him on Twitter or leave a question for his weekly mailbag.
I'm frustrated a little bit because I would think I could play better.
-- Mavs guard Rodrigue Beaubois on his summer league performances