Commentary

Mavs want Beaubois to be leading man

Second-year guard will work on being vocal, taking charge of team in summer league

Updated: July 7, 2010, 4:52 PM ET
By Jeff Caplan | ESPNDallas.com

DALLAS -- Darrell Armstrong is a loudmouth, and that's a compliment. The former NBA point guard and current Dallas Mavericks assistant coach never had a problem barking instructions and taking charge on the floor.

That's key, because Armstrong's No. 1 summer job is to develop Rodrigue Beaubois' vocal cords.

[+] EnlargeRodrigue Beaubois
AP Photo/Tony GutierrezRodrigue Beaubois averaged 7.1 points in 12.5 minutes per game as a rookie.

"That's his challenge. His challenge is how he's going to direct guys in summer camp down in Vegas," Armstrong said. "He's got to know when we need a good shot. He's got to call out a play so everybody knows the play. His communication to these guys is going to be big. This is a great learning lesson for him because he's got to do it."

Beaubois' silky basketball skills are obvious. After a rookie season of mostly watching, mixed with flashes of brilliance, expectations have exploded as the Mavs make plans for Beaubois to be an offensive focal point next season. The plan is to play him at shooting guard as well as increasingly more minutes at point guard, with a blueprint for an eventual takeover of the point guard position.

The most important summer of Beaubois' basketball life has included daily workouts throughout June with the Mavs' coaching staff. Now, he'll be one of the star attractions at the Las Vegas Summer League, which for the Mavs begins Friday against Denver and impressive second-year point guard Ty Lawson.

Next month, Beaubois will make a run with the French national team. Most of his court time this summer will be at point guard, designed to hone his skills as a vocal, take-charge floor leader.

"Last year with [Jason Kidd], I didn't have to do anything. He's the man. He's talking every time, so it was a good experience for me," Beaubois said. "The coaches try to push me. I think it's real good for my development, so I will try to improve on this point."

It's not necessarily an easy task for any young player, especially on a veteran-laden club such as the Mavs. Complicating his early development is that the polite, soft-spoken Guadeloupe native arrived last season barely speaking English. Although much improved, Beaubois almost blushes when he talks about his language skills.

"No, my English is terrible," he said. "It's better, it's better. For sure, I can speak better. For sure, I need to work on it."

His English will come. Armstrong's job is to draw out Beaubois' assertiveness.

"Every time he tries to push me to talk because it is not my nature," Beaubois said of Armstrong. "He is doing a great job and that helps me a lot. He tries to help me. He used to be a good player in this league, so I really appreciate it.

"It is not my nature. I still need to work on it, and it's coming. I can feel it."

Beaubois is likely to play virtually every minute of the Mavs' five-game summer league schedule, with the majority of time at point guard as first-round draft pick Dominique Jones breaks in at shooting guard.

Last year, Beaubois came to Vegas as an unknown, the 25th overall pick in the draft who had played in a low-level French league the year before. But the lanky, swooping Beaubois quickly attracted fans and raised eyebrows of league executives in the stands with some electrifying performances.

This time around, he'll be well known and should provide intriguing head-to-head matchups against Lawson, second-year Milwaukee sensation Brandon Jennings (July 12) and the No. 1 overall pick of this year's draft, Washington's John Wall (July 15).

"I really want to try to be a good point guard, try to give everybody the ball, to share the ball," Beaubois said. "I don't want to score all the baskets, just share with everybody and just control the game."

Those are all key areas to improve upon to become a top point guard in the NBA. More than the physical skills, however, the Mavs are keying on the leadership qualities.

"He's got to take control of the summer league team, which we've told him," said Monte Mathis, the Mavs' player development coach and summer league head coach. "He's got to become a leader. He's got to become more vocal, get guys organized offensively and defensively and then just do what he does.

"We know he can score, but he's really got to step to the forefront as far as leadership."

Jeff Caplan covers the Mavericks for ESPNDallas.com. You can follow him on Twitter or leave a question for his weekly mailbag.

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