DALLAS – Oklahoma City’s four best players are all younger than Rodrigue Beaubois.
That fact puts into perspective just how much room the Thunder have to grow if the core of Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, James Harden and Serge Ibaka sticks together. And it indicates just how unlikely it is that Roddy B. ever develops into the star the Mavs once expected him to be.
At this point, it’s probably time to stop talking about Beaubois’ potential.
“Roddy’s made a lot of improvement this year,” coach Rick Carlisle said, “so I’m not sure what you’re suggesting.”
I’m suggesting that, in his third season, Beaubois is a player who has stepped foot on the court for a grand total of five minutes so far this series. If the Mavs aren’t ready to rely on him now, why believe he’ll ever be anything better than a role player?
Carlisle countered by saying that Beaubois “did OK when he was in there,” adding that the Mavs cut into the Thunder’s lead with Beaubois on the floor. Sorry, but it’s a stretch to believe that had much to do with the missed field goal and foul that were the only stats he registered while Dirk Nowitzki was dominating in that second-quarter stretch.
Beaubois, touted on billboards put up by the team last year as a superstar in the making, shouldn’t be considered a kid who needs to be coddled. He’s seven months older than Durant, a three-time NBA scoring champion. He’s 10 months older than Westbrook, a two-time All-Star who has been the best player in this series. He’s 18 months older than Harden, an easy selection for Sixth Man of the Year. And he’s 19 months older than Ibaka, who finished second in Defensive Player of the Year voting.
Meanwhile, Beaubois averaged 8.9 points, 2.9 assists and 2.8 rebounds while bouncing in and out of the rotation. There were brief flashes of brilliance, usually against lottery-bound teams, but never enough sustained success to provide any realistic hope that he can be a future foundation piece.
“I don’t look at the situation quite the same way you do,” Carlisle said. “I like the progress that Roddy’s made, and when he has opportunities in this series, he’s got to give us what he can give us in terms of his quickness, his energy off the bench. His length is something that’s a positive factor for us. We want him to be aggressive and play his game.”
Beaubois has to get off the bench first, and that only happened once in the first two games of the series. That’s a far cry from what the Mavs expected when Mark Cuban declared a couple of years ago that the kid was close to untradeable.
And his age isn’t an excuse, as evidenced by the young bucks beating the Mavs.