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No more Roddy B; Rodrigue is tougher

First things first, stop calling him Roddy, Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle says.

"Rodrigue," Carlisle said. "Roddy was the flashes-of-brilliance-but-never-any-consistency player last year. Rodrigue is the new guy."

OK, then. So what will separate Roddy B., from Rodrigue Beaubois, who finally made his season debut on Wednesday and followed up 13 points and six assists with nine points and two assists on Thursday? Carlisle said start with maturity, as in learning that the NBA is not a place for wussies. Bumps and bruises are part of the deal, in practice and in games.

Carlisle said Rodrigue has "matured" to understand the toll his 6-foot (barely), 170-pound (iffy) body will take during the daily rigors of NBA life.

"When he first got to the team he’d hit the floor once or twice in practice and it looked like you’d have to come in with a forklift and pick him up and put him on a stretcher," Carlisle said. "He’s toughened up a lot. That first year he’d get carried off the floor two or three times and then he’d be back in five minutes later. And that kind of stuff, veteran players get on you about it. You start to realize that if I’m going to be a player in this league I can’t have the opponent seeing me go down in a heap all the time.

"And so he’s come light years. Again, he’s only been playing organized basketball for six or seven years, since he was 17. He’s in the early stages of learning the game still, you have to remember that too."

Rodrigue will celebrate his 23rd birthday on Thursday, just about a month before Jason Kidd turns 38.

Through two games, Rodrigue has overall provided a nice boost. He was better Wednesday than Thursday, but the kid hadn't played an NBA game since last April 29.

So as Rodrigue continues to get his legs back and continues to learn the league, the expectations will be there, and not just from the fans, but from the coach who has spent so much time lately trying to temper those very expectations.

"He got a lot of experience last year. He played over 700 minutes, which is a lot of minutes for a rookie," Carlisle said. "He started [16] games, which is significant, and he got some playoff experience, which is a different animal and he had some success there. And that gets you hungrier for more. I really think he’s not just a guy with natural ability. I think he really wants to be a special player and he’s learned about what it takes in terms of work to get there."