Monday, February 14, 2011

C'est bon de te revoir, Roddy B

Rodrigue Beaubois has become legend in a way among the DFW area. His name conjures up hope -- visions of a brighter future and the mystery of the unknown. He is normally spoke of as some savior, a hero of sorts, to bring justice to a town starved of any kind of championship. In a way, you can see he's the hero Dallas deserves AND the one it needs right now.

Because he brings something to Dallas that the team hasn't really had during its playoff runs. Sure, the Mavericks have had shooters (Dirk, Nash, Finley, Van Exel.) They've had slashers (Devin Harris, J.J. Barea...uh...Devin Harris.) But there has never been a real combination of the shooter, slasher and the athletic ability that Beaubois possesses. Harris came close, but his outside shot seems to have been left buried in the deep snow of Wisconsin. He never found it in Dallas and isn't finding it in New Jersey.

What even fascinates us more with Beaubois is the possibility. Teased by his raw talents in his rookie season, we've all had to wait five months before finally seeing how Roddy B could do with the spotlight squarely on him. The glimmers of hope last year from the games in Chicago where Beaubois stood toe-to-toe with Derrick Rose, the 40-point explosion in Oakland or the controversy and brilliance in San Antonio. All stories that are all legend-worthy.

When Beaubois steps back onto the court either Wednesday or Thursday night, what can we possibly expect? For one, the rust of not playing any sort of organized basketball for five months. Beaubois just recently became ready for full-contact practice and before that was doomed to the tedious task of rehabbing and shooting drills. Even though Beaubois has been exerting a lot of effort in working out (Chuck Cooperstein on the radio today even mentioned that Carlisle had him running up the steps of the lower bowl in the Toyota Center in Houston for about half-an-hour) we should temper immediate expectations. If you care to argue, see Dirk Nowitzki and Peja Stojakovic. Granted, Beaubois has age on his side, but considering the differences in layoffs, I would expect almost the same, if not more, rust.

Once the dust has been kicked off the tires, the possibilites, offensively, could be extraordinary. In only a little over 12 minutes a game last season, Beaubois shot an astonishing 51.8 percent overall, 40.9 percent from three and scored 7.1 points per game. Take that to per 36 minutes? It's a Dallas Maverick fan's wet dream -- 20.4 points per game, four rebounds, 3.8 assists. While it would be weary to expect those sorts of minutes, the production per minute, is realistic. Beaubois, as a pure scorer mind you, is almost perfect. His only knock being his height (which he more than makes up for in athleticism) and perhaps his usage rate (24.7 percent last year, a fairly high number) but the usage won't matter if Beaubois keeps pouring in the points in an efficient manner. Beaubois is the total package: A deadly three-point shot with a quick release, an explosive first-step, a variety of maneuvers and release points once inside the paint and pure, unadulterated speed. Beaubois took over 50 percent of his shots last year from two places: at the rim and beyond the arc. He is the definition of an efficient scorer. One can only hope that the broken foot did not damper what is Beaubois' most glaring attribute -- his speed.

There are of course other questions and flaws with Beaubois that hopefully people can temper when salivating at their overall expectations in the coming days. He still can't run an offense, with high turnover numbers when being the primary point. While having the physical gifts defensively, Beaubois was overmatched in any pick and roll or help scenarios defensively at times last year. He also falls in love with the three-point shot a bit much, not hesitant to fire a step back jumper well behind the arc early in the shot clock. And it will be interesting to see what Beaubois will do with video crews and coaching staffs honing in on him more than ever before. Maybe they'll finally figure out how to stop this:

The next big question comes down to minutes. With the spectacular play of J.J. Barea and the steady play of Jason Terry, who gets the axe? Most likely it will be DeShawn Stevenson who is 3 for his last 15 three-pointers and hasn't hit the 20 minute plateau since Feb. 5. Barea is, dare I say, indispensable due to his ability to control the offense off the bench and with his heightened play. Terry has the skins on the wall. Marion is the team's best perimeter defender. Peja looked fantastic against Houston. Stevenson is the odd man out, it seems to look like. Expect him to start games and third quarters, but not much after that.

The time has finally come. Beaubois will emerge from the night to bring forth possible salvation for a Maverick's team looking for an elusive championship. As Zach Lowe mentions, despite the splendid play of Tyson Chandler, the Mavericks are again a middle of the pack team both defensively and offensively. They are in essence, the same team that flamed out against the Spurs, at least statistically. Beaubois, however, is different. He represents change, something new. I believe in Roddy B.

(Just for fun, here's Beaubois' scintillating performance against Golden State last year. So, so good.)

(All stats courtesy of Basketball Reference and HoopData. Check them out, ya dig?)


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