Rodrigue Beaubois is comprised of totally disparate elements: his head is inexperienced and indecisive while his body contains unbridled athleticism and immense skill.
Like any NBA player, Roddy B does something (or more than one thing) extremely well. But, like any NBA player (especially the young ones), he isn't perfect.
One of his major shortcomings is on the defensive end. As has been chronicled by even the most lay basketball observers, Beaubois struggles to rotate quickly.
But what does that even mean? Have a look:
Ridnour could easily have had an open jumper if the pass had been better. Then, because Roddy B is so slow to recognize where he needs to rotate, and because he doesn't seem to communicate with Haywood (He would have gone to the block and Roddy B could have stayed with the guard out top if they had communicated) Wes Johnson ends up with a virtually uncontested layup.
Another area Beaubois struggles with on the defensive end is recognizing and diagnosing a screen-and-roll.
There are four ways to defend against the screen-and-roll.
1. In extreme cases the defenders will simply switch men.
2. The most common is for the guard to go under the screen while the big shows, or hedges, against the ball-handler just long enough to give his teammate time to negotiate the screen.
3. Another common tactic is to jam the play. There are two ways to do this: the first is to push the screener up into the ball-handler so his man can easily slide underneath; the second is to step into the body of the dribbler and guarantee yourself the ability to get over the screen.
4. The last way is to completely forget about the roll man and commit to trapping the dribbler.
Beaubois often struggles to choose the correct option.
In this clip Roddy B fails to see that the only defensive option he has is to go underneath Gortat's screen. He can't trap it because the Suns have everyone above the foul line (there is no one in the lane to stop the rolling Gortat) and he can't go over the top because Chandler is clearly stepping out to hedge on Nash.
Because of another mental mistake, Beaubois creates an opportunity for the opposition to score an easy layup.
"French Cuffs" also struggles with decision making on the offensive end in many cases. It's not that he is a bonehead or anything, but he simply lacks the requisite playing experience – he is 23 now and took up the game at just 17, likely receiving something short of the very best basketball training while springing from the island nation of Guadeloupe -- to instinctively make the right play in any situation. He passes when he should shoot, throws a straight pass instead of a bounce, and goes into traffic when he should avoid it. A lot of the time these mistakes don't even result in a turnover but simply in a sub-optimal shot.
It's not that Roddy B made the wrong decision; he just made the wrong pass. Instead of throwing a bounce pass and giving Haywood the chance to gather and dunk he throws a straight pass that forces Big ‘Wood to go up before he wants to; Roddy B exchanges the potential and-1 for the extremely dicey proposition of two Haywood free throws. He made the right choice, but he executed it the wrong way.
Roddy B doesn't always make the right choice, though. Sometimes his inexperience leads him to simply do the wrong thing. In this clip Beaubois just makes the wrong play.
He gets into the middle of the defense and then… tries to dump the ball off to a crashing Haywood. Why not just rise up and shoot the leaner ala his buddy Tony Parker? That's what the more seasoned Haywood was expecting.
That's what Roddy B should have done.
Beaubois isn't all bad choices and poor defense, though. He does some really nice things offensively in the screen-and-roll (when he doesn't lose the ball). He still has the ability to step back and drain a jumper or to turn the corner and get to the paint. And Roddy B has also learned how to drag defenders with him when the situation calls for it (something he didn't really do last year).
This is like parenting. He is like your first child. You are amazed when he justs start talking, but dumbfounded when he later fails to understand not to touch the hot stove. To continue the parenting simile, the men in charge of overseeing Beaubois – not just Carlisle but others in the family who have devoted themselves to this task, from Monte Mathis to Don Kalkstein to Darrell Armstrong to Terry Stotts to Dwane Casey to scout Luca Desta to GM Donnie Nelson to Jason Kidd -- must feel like they are "raising'' the kid.
In one moment you can be beaming with pride over the things he has done, and then you can just as easily be red-faced and pulling your hair out in frustration the next.
They, like we, experience these amazing "Eureka!" moments. But they are sandwiched in between some "WHAT THE HECK IS GOIN' ON OUT HERE?!" ones.
We continue to maintain, however, that when this talented is funneled properly, Roddy B approaches a level of not only "unpredictability'' but also "unguardability.'' We also continue to maintain that the rapid development of Beaubois is a key to Dallas being something in this postseason that it was not last postseason. The , ‘unpredictableness' must be tolerated because the ‘unpredictableness' might help a team get further than it would've otherwise … and we think without the addition of Beaubois to the rotation, Dallas isn't likely getting by the postseason Lakers, anyway.
So from our seats on press row, we can justify rolling the dice.
Ah, but from a coaching perspective … it's maddening to have to consider tossing Junior the car keys when you're not convinced he knows the difference between a green light and a red one.
The solution is more obvious than easy. Roddy B need to get some more of these (plays in which his head makes the right read and his body does an unstoppable thing) …
… And fewer of these (an attempt to dribble through two defenders and his own screen man, something nobody's head should do because it's something nobody's body can do) ...
What is Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle's level of tolerance for this? If the plus side and the minus side are close to an even balance, that means the kid is making a ton of subtle technical errors like the ones we've outlined here. We're happy to report that Beaubois is a good kid, a bright kid, and the adjustment to the Big Leagues from the island is actually a very smooth one. (In other words, no, we don't think Roddy B's been jewelry shopping with Dez Bryant lately.)
And he DOES start. It's not like he's being mothballed. Rather, as long-time Mavs staffer (and former star originally from Panama) tells us, "Roddy is being groomed. As quickly and as efficiently as possible.''
Dirk Nowitzki says Rodrigue Beaubois' game is such that "not even HE knows what he's going to do next.'' Dirk is smart enough to intentionally reflect on both interpretations of that statement.
It's "unpredictableness.'' And it needs to be narrowed to the one interpretation, the positive one. At that point -- this week? This month? this year? -- the Mavs won't even have to make some executive decision to fully "FREE RODDY B.'' Because with Beaubois' someday-improved BBIQ, he will be the one who frees himself.