Back in September, we profiled Roddy B, the enigmatic, formerly untouchable, perpetual tease from Guadalupe. Roddy was coming off a season with a few positives, but with enough question marks to nearly empty out the "future star" bandwagon and make the '12-13 campaign a "make or break" one.
A quick recap:
Dallas executed a draft night swap with the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2009, sending B.J. Mullens, the 24th pick, to Oklahoma City, and receiving little-known Rodrigue Beaubois in return. A week into the season, Beaubois would start, and despite standing 6'1 and about 165 pounds soaking wet, it was impossible not to notice the effortless athleticism and talent that oozed from his slender frame. He became known for executing what would later be called the "Roddy oop", taking a high screen and curling to the basket, where Jason Kidd would deliver a lob pass and the tiny guard would dunk it, occasionally in a stunned defender's face, defying gravity and conventional wisdom with the kind of speed and leaping ability typically seen only in video games.
Already a fan favorite, Beaubois would take on mythical status for Mavs fans, as he exploded for a 40 point performance in March against the Golden State Warriors, hitting 9 threes and appearing completely unstoppable. Then, in the Mavs' first round playoff series against the Spurs, Beaubois, who had spent most of the previous 5 games on the bench, came on in game 6 and led the team from down 19 points in the second quarter back to take the lead in the third, scoring 16 points in 21 minutes and looking a lot like a young version of the French guard across the court from him. Though Dallas would lose the game and be eliminated, coach Rick Carlisle vowed to play Beaubois more the next season. The future appeared extremely bright for Roddy Buckets, as most would have told you they thought that Roddy was going to be the star sidekick that could finally help Dirk Nowitzki capture his elusive first championship.
Well, the rest of the story most of you know. Beaubois would break his foot that summer, training with the French national team. Initially, the hope was that Roddy would return before the near year, but setbacks mounted and Beaubois would not make his season debut until mid-February, and when he did, he struggled in nearly all phases of the game. Another injury would keep him off the postseason roster, and minor injuries would plague him the following year, as well, as would general ineffectiveness and mental miscues that would prevent him from climbing up in Rick Carlisle's rotation.
There's just no way to sugar-coat this: it was an awful season for Roddy. At least last year, despite the continued shooting issues, there was growth in his all-around game, with strong secondary skills highlighted by some fairly beastly block and rebound numbers for a point guard. Alas, even those regressed this season, and his shot selection(and shot performance) hit new lows. He made just 28% of his long 2's, and 29% of his threes, which for some reason he attempted more than ever before. His distribution of shots close in fell to career-worst ratios, which made his continued excellence converting at the rim(63%) completely meaningless.
Roddy did have a couple of good games. He scored 19 points in 16 minutes on national TV against the Spurs in late January, and put up 18-5 with 0 turnovers against Cleveland in March(he would injure himself the next game and miss the rest of the season). Unfortunately, this year the good games came so few and far between, I don't think we could even really call him a tease anymore. And, as a free agent, his time in Big D may have ended with a whimper, not a bang.
What to expect going forward:
From a developmental standpoint, I don't know if I'll ever shake the feeling that things could have gone so differently for Roddy. There were a few things against him here. One being bad luck(and timing) with injuries. Another being Rick Carlisle's sporadic PT that especially hurts streaky, rhythm players with confidence problems, like Roddy. The third is perhaps the unusual basketball culture here in Dallas, where expectations are very high and yet the desperation for a young star to magically appear has been palpable for a long time. If Dallas was like most veteran teams, where young players are supplementary, maybe Roddy wouldn't have felt the pressure like he did here. Or if Dallas was a perennial cellar dweller and had no choice but to play the kid, maybe Roddy could have eventually shot himself back into form.
Instead, the Mavericks seem to exist in this strange philosophical space, where they REALLY REALLY need an exciting athletic scorer who does just about all the things we've seen Roddy do, but they only want this player if he is immediately a finished product: well-rounded, completely functional, wartless and unafraid. Otherwise, he'll be benched in favor of Mike James.
Beaubois' market value may be so low that Dallas could retain him at a minimal cost, but if you ask me no player in recent Mavs memory has needed a change of scenery more than Roddy. And while players who have regressed this much from years 1 to 4 don't often turn it around, it isn't too difficult to imagine him salvaging his career elsewhere.