Rodrigue Beaubois killed the Jazz last night. The statline: 22 points (9-15 fg, 3-5 3pt), six rebounds, seven assists, one steal, four (!!!) blocks, and two turnovers. More important than the numbers was how he did it â€” he started in place of Delonte West at the two, but when Jason Kidd had to leave with a sprained calf less than three minutes in, Beaubois became the Mavericksâ€™ primary point guard. Coming into the season, his ability to play the point was his biggest point of concern. With Jason Terry, Vince Carter, and Delonte West getting minutes at shooting guard, he needed to show proficiency at running the team if he wanted to avoid again being a nonessential piece come playoff time. Not even three weeks ago, his shortcomings were under the spotlight.
“Heâ€™s got to work on his decision-making, I think we all know that, coming off pick-and-rolls, making the right plays, seeing the floor thatâ€™s sometimes problems for him,” Nowitzki said. “But I like when he plays hard, he makes stuff happen, and I like when heâ€™s aggressive. Sometimes he has to find a better mix of driving and shooting and finding the open guy, but we need him.”
Against Utah, Dallas got what it needed. From Rob Mahoneyâ€™s superb recap at The Two Man Game:
Â Beauboisâ€™ full-speed reads on pick and rolls were a thing of absolute beauty. He previously would approach such sequences as strictly a two-man game, but with experience, Beauboisâ€™ scope has widened. He sees the baseline cutter and the open spot-up shooter â€” the men that, in the flurry of addressing their compromise in coverage, the defense has forgotten. Beaubois may always be a scorer first and foremost, but this was a fantastic passing display on a night when it was sorely needed.
We donâ€™t know the extent of Kiddâ€™s injury yet, but we do know that the Mavs arenâ€™t averse to resting a veteran as a precautionary measure. If Kidd misses some time, it would present a golden opportunity for his backup. Beaubois never seemed like a selfish player; he just hadnâ€™t exhibited the court vision necessary to make many plays for other people. I know Iâ€™m not the only one who fell in love with his insane speed, his penchant for highlight plays, and his scoring ability, but I also understood what Rick Carlisle wanted from him and why he wasn’t playing 30 minutes a night.Â Trust, savvy, and ball movement make the Mavericksâ€™ offense go, so seeing this kind of progress from Beaubois is exciting. With Dallas still a work in progress and roles still being established, he has a chance to carve out a bigger role than weâ€™ve seen early this season.
Friday night was a damn good start.