DALLAS _ If Rodrigue Beaubois is the point guard of the future for the Dallas Mavericks, the future doesn’t look very bright.
For the second straight game running the offense while starting point guard Jason Kidd rested his weary body, Beaubois laid a big fat egg. In Friday’s 107-96 win over the Los Angeles Clippers, Beaubois was 0-of-7 from the field, committed two turnovers, handed out four assists, collected three steals and was scoreless in 25 minutes.
Not exactly glowing numbers from the person the Mavs hope to turn the keys of the offense over to once the 38-year old Kidd retires.
“He struggled, I think you can say,’’ coach Rick Carlisle said. “But we knew this wasn’t going to be easy.
“This is important for him to go through to understand the challenge that’s ahead of him in his young career eventually as a potential heir apparent to Jason Kidd.’’
Carlisle has said repeatedly that Beaubois plays his best ball while he’s playing the shooting guard spot when Kidd is running the offense. But when Beaubois has flown solo – sans Kidd _ it’s been like someone jumping out of an airplane without a parachute.
This past Wednesday against Denver, Beaubois also struggled when he finished the game with just six points, was just 2-of-7 from the floor and had only one assist and four turnovers. It was yet another head-scratching moment for what has become a series of inconsistent play.
“It’s a complex possession, there’s a lot involved,’’ Carlisle said of the point guard position. “There’s responsibility of having the ball, making play-calling and those kinds of things, there’s reading situations which are totally different than when you’re playing off the ball and playing with Jason Kidd.
“But through it all the last two games he’s hung in there and done his share of good things even after some real difficult beginnings starting to the games.’’
Beaubois is in his second season and had some flashes of brilliance last year as a rookie. His 40-point game against Golden State last year garnered a lot of attention, as did the 16 spectacular points he scored in just 21 minutes during Game 6 of the opening round of the playoffs against the San Antonio Spurs.
But this year the progress has been slow and the bumps have been plentiful for the 23-year kid from Pointe-a-Pitre, Guadeloupe.
“It’s a sophomore slump,’’ owner Mark Cuban said. “That’s why they gave it a name, right?
The Mavs were hoping Beaubois would log some extra minutes last summer and learn the nuances of being a point guard. But that got derailed last August when Beaubois broke a bone in his left foot while practicing with the French national team and ultimately had to have surgery.
Cuban said the inferior playing surface Beaubois practices on in France “certainly didn’t help’’ his chances of not getting injured. Playing on such surfaces is one of the big fears of most NBA owners who have forked over several million dollars to players who take their talent overseas to play for their country during the offseason.
But these are the dice the Mavs have rolled in regards to Beaubois, whose defense at the time is much more efficient than his ability to run a team.
“The last game (against Denver) we left him in there for defense for a couple of possessions so he could help us get stops and he made a couple of big free throws,’’ Carlisle said. “(Friday) he went back in there, defensively he was active and did some good things, and offensively he made one or two good plays.’’
Because of Beaubois speed and ability to get up the floor quickly, some people have described him as a poor man’s Tony Parker. But unlike the San Antonio Spurs’ All-Star playmaker, Beaubois has a long ways to go before he’s a polished NBA player.
“Tony developed at finishing at the bucket,’’ Cuban said. “So hopefully he’ll develop that as well.’’
Beaubois didn’t play his first game this season until he scored 13 points and dispensed six assists during a Feb. 16 game against Sacramento. Since then his play has been sporadic at best, although Carlisle noted that he’s become more aggressive at the defensive end of the floor.
Overall, Beaubois is averaging 8.9 points and 2.4 assists in 18.6 minutes per game while shooting 42.6 percent from the field and only 30.8 percent from three-point range. His lack of production suggests that his confidence as a point guard isn’t close to where it needs to be.
“It’s just going to take time, but I’m not going to bail on the kid,’’ Carlisle said. “I think a lot of people are ready to based on my radio show (Friday) and the questions (that were asked).
“But this is no surprise to me. But this is what it’s going to take for him to become the player that we believe he will become.’’
-- Dwain Price
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