The Legend of FREE RODDY B; We Resist Mavs 'I Told You So's' Regarding Shaky Handling of Beaubois
by Mike Fisher
Fri, Apr 30, 2010, 08:55 AM
It is with no joy that I say, “I told you so.’’
It is with no patience that I’m not ready to celebrate how he will “kill people’’ next year.
It is with no glee that I disagree when Mark Cuban says, “He showed all the ‘!’people who have been wanting to see him.’’
What we do here and at that IS ‘the ! people.’ And in Thursday’s season-ending loss at San Antonio, rookie Rodrigue Beaubois did not “show’’ us anything … that we did not already know.
"I guess if I didn't play much,’’ said Roddy B, a star in Dallas’ 97-87 loss when he was actually allowed by coach Rick Carlisle to play, “it was because I didn't show him enough things.’’
This goes back to the Draft Day numbers on late-first-round-pick Roddy B, when Mavs GM Donnie Nelson told me his Underwear Olympics testing put him on an athletic par with Devin Harris.
This goes back to Summer League and training camp, when we used The Eye Test to begin proclaiming his freakishness.
This goes back to the way he owned first quarters early this season when coach Rick Carlisle allowed him some “sampling’’ as a starter.
This goes back to November, when I got the chance to socialize with Beaubois a little bit and noticed that he attended a party while armed with a deck of cards. As I wrote at the time:
Here’s a life philosophy as it relates to Dallas Mavericks rookie Roddy Beaubois: Never bet against a guy who shows up at a social gathering with his own deck of cards.
“These?’’ Roddy said to me as he reached into his pocket and pulled out the familiar rectangle box. “Oh, I do tricks.’’
After watching the French-speaking, Guadaloupe-born, fast-as-a-photon kid being nursed through his rookie season, so often performing tantalizing magic virtually every time he was given the chance …
Yes. Roddy Beaubois can “do tricks.’’
This goes back to shortly after that, when I surveyed my credit-card balance and decided to print up some t-shirts. You know, just for fun.
‘RODDY, PROUD & LOUD!’
So no, when Roddy B exploded – in what I sarcastically call a “breakout game’’ because under Rick’s guidance, he is forced to “re-breakout’’ every few weeks -- no, “He did not show all the ‘!’ people who have been wanting to see him.’’
Because the ‘FREE RODDY B!’ people are not the ones who needed to be shown.
On Thursday, the Mavs were behind 35-16 when, almost on a Carlisle lark, Beaubois entered the game. The second and third quarters were all his and in his first 18 minutes, Beaubois scored 16 points. A blowout was a game. A single-digit game.
Then came the fourth quarter, and Rick went with the veteran security blankets. … and Beaubois went back inside his warmup gear. Nine minutes of fourth-quarter opportunity ticked away, and then so did the game, the series and the season.
That’s on Rick.
"We were hanging right in there a good portion of that time,’’ said Rick, calmly pretending to not know what all the fuss is about. “Those have been tough decisions all year. But in a difficult team situation, (Roddy) gave us a big lift."
Cuban heard our calls for more. Enjoying himself and enjoying the rally, he found himself yelling, “FREE RODDY B!’, too, along with the rest of us.
"Yeah, when he made a couple of shots and drove to the basket I was screaming 'FREE RODDY B!' from behind the bench,’’ the owner said, laughing. "I was proud to see him come in and he just played hard and obviously had a big impact on the game. He showed all the "FREE RODDY B!" people who have been wanting to see him, and he did it on a big stage. … Hopefully Roddy will look back at this year and Roddy had a little bit of an impact and next year he'll be killing people."
Well, yes. Next year.
But our clamoring for him has been the case all season long; we’ve done it such a way that DallasBasketball.com’s “FREE RODDY B!’’ campaign that included not only t-shirts but also mentions everywhere in the national media, from NBA.com to ESPN.
In Roddy B’s first career start, Nov. 4 at New Orleans? He shared the stage with superstar Chris Paul of the Hornets. Yet the kid scored Dallas’ first nine points. He finished with that total (on 4-of-6 shooting, along with an assist) while logging 14 very controlled minutes (and none down the stretch) in an OT loss.
“French Cuffs’’ second start came Saturday in Minnesota in an 89-77 victory, and we saw a trend: He quick-started again, scoring Dallas’ first seven points while again eventually giving way to Jason Terry and JJ Barea for the important minutes later. (Roddy finished with nine points on 3-of-7 shooting, with two rebounds, two assists and a block.)
And then the next game: Beaubois started at Detroit and scored 14 points on 6-of-6 shooting, with four assists, a rebound and two steals. Again, along with the obvious decision to give playing time to Jet, Carlisle favored JJB in the backcourt when it came to the nail-biting fourth quarter. Given Barea’s now-veteran understanding of what the coach wants and what the team needs, there was, maybe, at the time not much of an argument against playing it safe regarding Beaubois.
But the argument comes NOW.
Because while Cuban was listening and heeding the call, Carlisle was not.
What happened here is no "(though weirdly, that's what Sports Illustrated is calling him today.) What happened here was no "odd couple'' pairing of Dirk and Roddy (though weirdly, that's what is calling it.) This isn’t a second-guess of Rick’s misuse of Beaubois in this series; we’ve been saying it all along, and furthermore, we’ve been hinting all along that Roddy B’s teammates wanted him freed.
Consider Jason Kidd's early-season collaboration with DallasBasketball.com on the subject. (.)
Or Consider the Mavs' postgame remarks:
From Brendan Haywood: "I've seen a lot of rookies break mentally around this time and nothing breaks this kid and he has no fear. He's going to be a great player."
From Dirk Nowitzki: "Man, if he keeps improving and stays humble, he's going to be fun to watch for a long, long time.’’
From Jason Terry: "It was the same thing he did all year. The kid can play. Whether he was out there or not, that's another story."
And that last one is so significant, because when Jet is seemingly calling for more playing time for Roddy B, he is doing so knowing that move would mean a decline in his own minutes.
Roddy, what do you say?
"You don't think about it," he said. "Like I said, it was coach's decision. I think everybody tried to play very hard and did a good job. It's OK. But when he called my name I just wanted to push myself and try to win the game. That's it."
The arguments that Beaubois is … A rookie. From Guadaloupe. Who played for a less-than-NBA-level pro team. In France. Who, along with learning basketball, is learning English.
Those were credible arguments last October.
They are stupid arguments for Beaubois not playing a role in any of the previous five Mavs-Spurs games before Thursday. … and stupid arguments for taking a player who was literally unstoppable on Thursday and stopping him the only way possible: By not playing him.
Sadly, this is nothing new.
By mid-March, the ! movement was in full swing as the numbers came into full focus. Still, Carlisle was over the course of the 82-game season essentially DNP’ing him or playing him fewer than three minutes per game in a full half the season.
How do you ball-and-chain to the bench a player who – youth and all – is arguably the second-best offensive talent on the roster?
Does anybody disagree? Shove these numbers in their mugs:
Players who shoot 50 percent from the floor, 40 percent from the arc and 80 percent of the time from the line are rare. It’s “The 50/40/80 Club,’’ reserves for shooters who can score inside and out … It’s Bird and Reggie Miller and the like …
No rookie has ever done it. Until this year.
He scored 7.1 points per game in 12.5 minutes per game; decent enough. But when he was allowed to play? Well, his 40-point performance on March 27 at Golden State is already part of Mavericks lore.
As a shooter overall? He shot 51.8 percent from the floor, 40.9 from the arc and 80.8 from the line.
.’’ The only rookie in the club. Ever.
The defensive learning curve is a steeper one. Again, it’s not an issue of athleticism; on defense, Roddy’s cool demeanor is sometimes not an asset. Coaches say that more intensity would be a plus. And he tends to be a “reacher.’’
So hell, he makes an occasional mistake. But he scores a point a minute.
Coach can’t live with that?
Before the series, I said to Gina Miller on TV that Roddy B had a chance to be the "savior'' (I know, strong word) in this year's playoffs because he is the single biggest personnel change from a year ago.
I stand by that statement.
All four Mavs losses in this series were there for the winning. In the fourth quarter of every game, the Mavs had leads, were behind by two or four or five.
It says here Beaubois would've made a nightly difference of two or four of five points.
Roddy B’s year will be next year. He will spend this offseason in the Summer League, furthering his overall education by playing lots of point guard. He will be the subject of trade talks the Mavs will surely resist. He will be a candidate to be the starting 2-guard for the 2010-11 Dallas Mavericks.
"I'm the one who's going to have to make the decision on who plays, and I'll live with those decisions,’’ Rick Carlisle said late in the season as the ! campaign rushed forward. "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 are opportunities to play him where I think he can help our team, he'll be out there."
But Rick … you didn’t do it. You didn’t play him when he could’ve helped your team. You didn’t put him out there … until it was too late.
Back at that November party, as I was trying to learn more about Roddy’s sleight-of-hand skills, veteran NBA guru Del Harris approached. He exchanged pleasantries with the kid and then embraced him with two final words.
“Bonne chance,’’ Harris said to Beaubois.
Good luck? Roddy Beaubois never needed luck.
In the Mavs’ Round 1 series loss to San Antonio, Roddy Beaubois just needed to play.
... written by FelixUp3 , May 01, 2010
guard team) a point guard Barea and shooting guard Terry. When you put in Beaubois, what is he? A 1,2 or 1/2 combo guard. He reminds me of Jet when he played p.g. under Avery Johnson's regime, and he play the position pretty well (George Hill isn't the only reference comparison). If they want to make the rotation fluid enough for Beaubois to get minutes, Terry or Barea needs to go. I'm for Barea to stick around, and Terry out.
Free Roddy? Grow Roddy!
... written by Chris Humpherys , May 03, 2010
Beaubois was quite impressive in that game. I'll be the first to admit that I had never even see the kid play before.