Commentary

Beaubois' hard work leads to progress

Rookie guard earning coaching staff's confidence with athleticism, attitude

Updated: February 8, 2010, 1:05 AM ET
By Tim MacMahon | ESPNDallas.com

SAN FRANCISCO -- An assistant coach politely interrupted a recent interview with Rodrigue Beaubois to remind the rookie that he had a post-practice session scheduled.

This wasn't typical extra work for Beaubois, though. The Dallas Mavericks' in-house camera crew wanted to shoot video of what might be described as the 21-year-old guard's Guadeloupean Globetrotter routine, a mix of ballhandling tricks picked up on soccer fields and basketball courts.

[+] EnlargeRodrigue Beaubois
Garrett W. Ellwood/Getty ImagesRodrigue Beaubois is averaging 10.9 minutes over 32 games this season, but he was on the floor a total of 40 minutes in the past two games.

That video will soon crack the rotation on the scoreboard big screens at American Airlines Center during breaks in the action. Coach Rick Carlisle is also ready to feature Beaubois, who seems on the verge of seizing a permanent role in the Mavs' playing rotation.

"You've got to play talent," said future Hall of Fame point guard Jason Kidd, who has embraced a role as the rookie's mentor. "He's going through his learning curve. You've got to put him in a situation for some trial and error. He's got to go through some ups and downs and be able to understand how to run the team and be aggressive."

Beaubois, the 25th overall pick in this year's draft, is finally being given that opportunity.

Other than a 13-game stint as the fill-in starter at shooting guard, Beaubois has been pretty much glued to the bench except for garbage time until recently. That does not mean that the phenom from a French island has been in Carlisle's doghouse. The coach was determined to be patient with the development of an intriguing prospect who is adapting to an entirely different culture while making an enormous leap in competition after playing in a lower-level European league.

Carlisle hasn't publicly declared that Beaubois has taken the backup point guard reins from J.J. Barea, but that clearly is the case. Beaubois had barely seen any minutes at point guard until recently, but he's been the first guard off the bench in the past few games when Kidd gets his early breather.

"He's earned [more minutes] because he's worked to get better," Carlisle said. "He's spent a lot of time studying the league and opponents and film of games that we've played. He's continued to make progress, therefore I really feel like he's earned the opportunity for him to get into the rotation."

The rookie, whose English has also improved significantly since he arrived in Dallas soon after the draft, gets it.

"I had a lot of things to learn," Beaubois said. "I'm working every day to get better. I think in practice I showed interesting things, so the coach decided to give me minutes.

"I understand that I'm a rookie. I can't control [playing time]. The only thing I can control is getting better, so I just work. That's it."

Beaubois was the lone bright spot in the Mavs' loss Friday night to the Minnesota Timberwolves. His performance was the primary reason the Mavericks even had a chance to beat a bad team.

Ten of Beaubois' career-high 17 points came in the fourth quarter, as the Mavs rallied from a deficit that had reached double figures to tie the score before their late collapse. Beaubois' efficient scoring performance featured a blend of beautiful, arching 3-pointers and breathtaking drives. He shot 6-of-10 from the floor (4-of-5 from 3-point range) while matching his career high with 24 minutes, including the entire fourth quarter. (Barea did not play for the first time this season.)

But Beaubois also made some rookie mistakes. A significant part of his development will be learning how to maintain his aggressiveness while limiting fouls, turnovers and defensive lapses.

"I made a lot of mistakes," he said after the game. "I got called for charging two times and made some mental mistakes on defense, so I think I can play better. … I need to get better."

The Mavs brass is almost as enamored of Beaubois' attitude as his unique athleticism. And that's saying something, considering the kid has a 6-10 wingspan, quickness that compared favorably with Devin Harris' during predraft tests and a 39-inch vertical leap.

"He brings an element to the game that we really don't have anywhere else on our roster," Carlisle said. "You're talking about a kid who came from a foreign country and played really off the ball the majority of his career in Europe the last couple of years.

"He got here and really didn't have a feel for the NBA game and the level of disposition and intensity and posture you have to have every night. He's made great progress."

With the right attitude and remarkable athleticism, the raw rookie is ready to help the Mavericks.

Tim MacMahon covers the Mavericks for ESPN Dallas. You can follow him on Twitter or leave a question for his weekly mailbag.

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