As of right now, there are only two Maverick guards returning to the team this coming NBA season: Dominique Jones and Rodrigue Beaubois. This could change if Delonte West does get resigned, as many hope and expect, but with the way this offseason has progressed for the Mavericks, even that is an uncertainty. Other guards will be brought in and Jared Cunningham, the Mavericks top draft pick, will be a factor to gain minutes, only two players will head to Mavericks training camp without the added pressure of knowing the playbook and understanding what the coaching staff expects for them.
It's safe to say that there are a lot of expectations for Roddy and Dojo this coming season. And deservedly so.
Jones and Beaubois are entering their third and fourth years in the league, respectively, and neither has yet to make any sort of push to be considered a part of the Mavericks' future as they look forwards to the coming years. They have had to deal with a congested rotation in the backcourt, to be completely fair. In 2010-11, Kidd and Barea took most of the point guard minutes with Stevenson, Stojakovic and reigning sixth man Jason Terry consuming almost all the time at the 2. Three of those players departed last offseason, but adding West and Carter still gave Carlisle a couple of veteran options at those positions that Roddy and Dojo would have to outperform.
Though Roddy did average a career-best 21 minutes a game, it was more due to his potential than anything else. The veteran guards were leaps and bounds above what the two youngsters were producing on the court. When it came down to it, he played just twelve minutes total in the Mavericks' one playoff series. Jones wasn't even active.
Disappointing would be an understatement. The two have shown flashes of talent, potential that could turn them into solid NBA role players, at least. They have yet to develop it consistently. It comes and goes -- mainly goes -- and so the duo waiver from the court to the bench and back again.
This year, however, is different. If the season started right now, these two young men would be the Mavs backcourt. Deron Williams didn't come, Kidd and Terry took their talents elsewhere, and though it's likely that the Mavericks will pick up some guards somewhere along the way before the season starts, they are expecting a lot from these two.
Jones and Beaubois should be expecting just as much out of themselves. They were lucky enough to land with a franchise as well-run and successful as the Mavericks. It took Juwan Howard eighteen years to win a championship. They both already have championship rings to show off. Roddy had injury issues both during a season and all through last offseason, but he's finally healthy headed into a season (knock on wood). If Dominique and Roddy aren't looking at this year as being their year, then they might as well pack their bags and go find another career.
I feel sure they understand just how important this season is, though, starting from day one of the offseason, continuing through summer league and training camp and preseason, and paying off when the games that count begin. A tweet by Jones sums up the mentality that both of these players have to have:
Heading to Vegas next week on business.— Dominique Jones (@Dojo20) July 8, 2012
It's time for business. Cheering on your teammates while they made clutch shots and huge plays to win a championship -- that was fun. Beating up on bad teams and leading the team in scoring -- that was fun. This year, it's time for Beaubois and Jones to work their asses off. I want to see them diving for loose balls, sprinting back on fast breaks, powering into a shot blocker and getting knocked to the ground, all for the sake of two free throws. Around the back fast break dunks are fun, but making the right play, the smart pass against a conference rival like the Spurs or Lakers is how business run. Potential isn't enough anymore; it's time to see consistent production. I know Roddy and Dojo have it in them.