DALLAS – The "Free Roddy B." movement ran out of steam long ago. But maybe, just maybe Rodrigue Beaubois can earn his way back into Rick Carlisle’s rotation again.
Beaubois, the former phenom whose career has fizzled, has at least given his coach a lot to think about this week.
Beaubois made a major impact in the Mavericks’ last two wins. First, he had a flash of brilliance in the second quarter of Tuesday night’s victory in Milwaukee, fueling a run of 15 consecutive points. That didn’t earn him a second of burn in Thursday’s loss to the Spurs, but Beaubois was the Mavs’ best player in Friday night’s 96-86 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers.
“This was Roddy’s best game of the year by far and certainly the most timely,” Carlisle said after Beaubois scored 18 points and dished out five assists in 22 turnover-free minutes.
Beaubois didn’t just put up nice numbers. He made a difference, infusing energy in the fatigued Mavs after the regulars got off to a sluggish start and slamming the door on a bad team in the fourth quarter, when Beaubois had nine points and three assists.
Not bad for a dude who got DNP-CD’d in eight of the previous 11 games, got garbage-time minutes in two others and only got significant playing time in Milwaukee because Darren Collison had to go to the locker room to check his eye checked out.
“He did exactly what you have to do if you’re out of the rotation,” Dirk Nowitzki said. “You get one opportunity and make the best of it. You play until you’re exhausted. What you have to do if you’re out of the rotation, if you get a chance, you have to make the coach play you.”
Is this Roddy B. turning the corner or just another in a long line of teases from the dynamic but disappointing guard?
“I have no idea,” Nowitzki said. “We’ll wait and see.”
Nowitzki’s hesitance to hype Beaubois, whose bright spots tend to come against bad teams, is certainly understandable. After all, this is the same guy the Mavs counted on to develop into a cornerstone after a rookie campaign that featured so many flashes of brilliance that Carlisle was heavily criticized for not playing him more.
Then the injuries hit, starting with a broken foot suffered while practicing with the French national team, beginning an ordeal that included two surgeries and essentially wiped out his sophomore season. Beaubois has dealt with a bunch of nagging injuries since then and hasn’t exactly displayed the kind of toughness that Carlisle demands from the guys he depends on.
The last two seasons have been disappointing for Beaubois. This one, until this week at least, has been a disaster. He’s averaging career lows across the board, including 3.8 points on 35.8 shooting in 12.1 minutes per game.
Beaubois has a little more than a month to change perceptions before he hits free agency this summer. His last two appearances have been a pretty good start.
“Roddy’s saga here has been rife with peaks and valleys,” Carlisle said. “The thing that he’s learned through it that good health is the number one thing and then keeping yourself ready and being strong with everything you do. When he came in the Milwaukee game and when he came in the game tonight, he came in with force. And that has not been his reputation.
“So he’s had a great adjustment in his mental approach. Physically, his body is stronger than it’s been. He’s earned these minutes. We’re fortunate because I don’t know if we’d have won without him tonight.”
Has Beaubois earned more minutes?
“I don’t know,” Beaubois said. “I just need to keep myself ready. If he calls my name, I just need to go out there and do my best.”