Championship? If It Happens, It's Because Of That French Dude

In all of sports, young phenoms are idealized, adored and scrutinized. It doesn't matter whether they project to be the starting point guard or the second string backup or a DNP-CD, everyone loves the rookies. Just take a look over to Cowboy land: Dez Bryant has had dozens of pieces written on him already, hundreds of questions asked to him by media members, and has already signed thousands of autographs. If nothing changes, he's going to be the third receiver. Most Super Bowls are not won or lost by third receivers. Nevertheless, Bryant...he's a rising star.

The reason why is pretty simple: he's new, he's fun, and he's mysterious. No one knows whether he is going to be the next Michael Irvin, or if he will turn into Matt Jones. But honestly, for the Cowboys this year, people expect him to be important, but not to be the cornerstone of their hopeful Super Bowl run.

Rodrigue Beaubois, however? He's different. There is the same buzz, the same hype, the same love for him as there is for Dez and the like. He's got highlight videos, video clips, and then some more highlight videos. He's got posts, threads, articles and features.

He's also got all of the Mavericks championship hopes riding on his shoulders. He's certainly not the centerpiece, but for this team, he is absolutely crucial. Get ready for this possibly controversial opinion: if the Mavericks win the NBA Championship this year, it will be thanks to Rodrigue Beaubois.

If I said that about another young prospect on another team, I would probably get laughed off as just being a blatant homer. But from what I can tell, a lot of the Mavericks fanbase knows that that prediction is not totally ridiculous. Looking at the team from 09/10 to this team, its pretty easy to realize there is only one player who can really change the team's dimension.

Of course, there were some small moves made. But Dampier for Chandler isn't much of an upgrade, it was more about casting off Matt Carroll's contract. Resigning Haywood? Its safe to assume that he's not going to become a 20/10 over the summer, so the team doesn't really improve from that signing. Mahinmi is a third center, and he may be fun to watch in limited minutes, but he's still a third center. Dominique Jones may be an offensive spark from time to time, but until he develops a jumper, he won't make much of an impact over 82 games. None of our existing starters like Dirk and Caron and Jason are young guys who are ready to take the next step. Quite the opposite, in fact.

But that's what Beaubois is. He's a young guy, and I think he's shown he's ready to take the next step. Or at least, if the Mavericks are going to contend, he has to take the next step.

His lack of minutes last year has been well chronicled (not as egregious as some of you claim, but that's a topic for another day), but his per 36 minute stats are great. 20 points, 4 boards, 4 dimes, 1.5 steals and 3 turnovers. Now, obviously if Roddy had been given 36 minutes last year, he was not going to end with a line with that. At the same time, with the improvement that should be expected for a 22 year old who is just beginning to grow comfortable with the language and the NBA, it wouldn't be unreasonable to expect a line similar to that in 24-28 minutes a game. Perhaps 15 points, 3 boards, 3 assists, and 3 turnovers. I think this is a reasonable expectation for Rodrigue.

All of a sudden, if you have Roddy producing like that, a lot of things change on the team. First and most obviously, you have a new 15 ppg scorer, who is explosive and can light it up at any moment. You've got a shooter to spot up along the outside. I know Dirk and Dwight Howard are vastly different, but they are both low post threats, and you've seen what a quantity of quality shooters do in Orlando. Even more important than being a shooter is that Roddy is a penetrator. Taking a look at the roster, there really isn't anyone else who can fill that hole. Butler's a jump shooter, Dirk's a jump shooter, Kidd's is even more of a jump shooter, and Terry is a jump shooter. Rodrigue has the ability to get into the lane trip after trip after trip, and he's proven that he's a great finisher and a nifty passer in close like that. That's going to be important to this team.

More minutes for Rodrigue will also mean more more rest for Kidd (in theory at least), more time for Butler at his natural position, and less minutes for Terry.

All of this would be great. Its all very hypothetical, because we don't know how Roddy will respond to more minutes, we don't know if Roddy will get more minutes, and we're assuming that there nothing like a sophomore slump or an injury that puts him out for a period of time. But we can make predictions, and my prediction is that Roddy's play is going to either going leave this team as a first or second round loser, or make them a serious, legitimate threat in the West, capable of winning a championship, based on him either being all that he can be or disappointing.

There is one other way, though, that Roddy may contribute towards a championship, and that's if he's traded for another superstar. I've gone on and on about how his driving might help free up shots for so-and-so who might have a better year which might help the team. Well, there aren't any "mights" or "coulds" or "maybes" with this. Roddy can acquire us serious talent. We've tried for years to get a second superstar for Dirk, and after those years of trying, we have a shot to finally succeed thanks to Rodrigue.

So how about that, Roddy? Go win us a championship, one way or another.

Reader submitted. Opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of our editorial staff.