Sacre Bleu! Which Roddy B will Roddy B? (Dallas Mavericks 2012-2013)



I don’t often start an article referencing another, but props to Alan Smithee for about as comprehensive a rundown on Roddy Beaubois’ fledgling career as one could imagine.  What is there left to say?

A diamond in the rough discovered by fellow Frenchman Mickaël Piétrus at a camp in his native Guadalupe, French West Indies, Roddy didn’t put up spectacular numbers playing French professional ball but got the attention of NBA scouts with his blazing speed, 39” vertical leap and massive 6’ 10” wingspan—very long for a 6’ 2” guard. Ironically, drafted by the Oklahoma City Thunder, a team in the middle of climbing the Western Conference with young explosive talent, he was instead traded immediately traded to the Mavericks who were laden with established veterans.

Mark Cuban implied at one time that Roddy might be the team’s next superstar and in referencing the idea of a trade, referred to him as “untouchable” but as Smithee describes and most Mavs fans know, Roddy’s career has been a longer and more difficult roller coaster ride even than the team’s journey the last couple of years —and that’s saying a lot. From electrifying 40-point games to disappearing from the rotation, from spectacular steals and blocks coming from a 160 lb. guard to plummeting field goal and three-point percentages, it’s no wonder there is frustration among fans, coaches and presumably Roddy himself. It isn’t a slam-dunk as to what has been the source of Roddy’s struggles. His modest but reasonable averages don’t tell the story of his feast-or-famine performances and explaining them has been speculative. Outside of his injuries, what might cause a player to be so erratic?

There clearly seems to be a fair amount of poor decision-making on Roddy’s part. When perhaps the strongest part of your game is speed, the ability to drive and effectiveness around the rim, especially for a guard, it tends to baffle observers when you rely too much on long jump shots. That reality is sadly ironic when you how consider losing J. J. Barea affected the team and that Roddy is an ideal candidate for the kind of penetration Barea practiced that played such a big role in lifting Dallas to the championship.

Yet some observers believe that Rick Carlisle, a coach not known for giving young players a great deal of opportunity, may be partially to blame. At times when he pulled Roddy early after a couple of bad shots or during playoffs when he reduced his minutes down to almost nothing, one couldn’t help but wonder if there was something punitive going on. It certainly couldn’t have helped build confidence.

This year is likely a make-or-break year for Roddy and Dominique Jones, both of whom have been in Dallas for more than a couple of years now and failed to earn consistent playing time although Roddy has shown flashes of brilliance. The good news is that since there has been a complete shakeup in the backcourt, the rotation is likely more open than it might have been in the past and Rick Carlisle has maintained that everyone has a chance to compete. Like Jones, Roddy clearly has talent and at this point in his career he is no longer considered untouchable. Because there are 4-5 veteran guards on the team who look to be presumptive favorites for the most minutes, without a significant demonstration of something special Roddy may end up closer to the end of the bench. Anything is possible of course but one can’t help but wonder if it’s time to look at moving a player who seems to have been in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Roddy worked during the offseason including taking boxing lessons to improve his strength and toughness. That may be helpful to his game but it seems fairly clear he’s going to have to right the ship and play to his strengths, perform consistently and make good decisions. Darren Collison is the only pure point guard on the roster and Delonte West has started extensively at the point and proven his capability in Dallas as well as being capable at shooting guard. O. J. Mayo will be given the opportunity as the new starter next to Collison and Vince Carter is likely to be called on to step in for Jason Terry. How Dahntay Jones may be used is as yet uncertain but he’s known as a defensive stopper and is likely going to be used to help take the defensive load off of Shawn Marion.  Roddy, Dominique Jones and rookie Jared Cunningham appear to be the wild cards going into camp.

Unlike many young players who have to prove they got game, Roddy has shown the ability to dazzle and his burden is going to be finding consistency, control and toughness and at this stage it’s anyone’s guess whether he’ll succeed or fail and whether or not his continued efforts will continue in Dallas—or elsewhere.