DALLAS -- None of Rodrigue Beaubois' teammates questions his raw abilities. They've seen him accomplish some amazing feats during his two-plus seasons with the Dallas Mavericks.
To a man, the Mavs just want to see Beaubois accomplish those feats on a more consistent basis. And they believe if he does, he could eventually become one of the top point guards in the NBA.
"That's the word on the street, is if he can do it every game," guard Jason Terry said. "That's definitely what we're trying to get him to do.
"But he's been watching more film with [developmental coach] Darrell [Armstrong], and he's taking the game a lot more seriously, realizing that his opportunity may be right now, and that's good. He can't have peaks and valleys -- not in your third year.''
Never miss a local story.
Unfortunately for Beaubois, his valleys have far outnumbered his peaks. In other words, just when it appears he's prepared to become the capable backup to 38-year old Jason Kidd, Beaubois goes out and lays a big fat egg.
That's why coach Rick Carlisle often pumps the brakes when discussing Beaubois' progress -- or lack thereof.
"In the Utah game [last Thursday] he was great," Carlisle said. "He competed at the highest level as I've seen him compete, and that's what we need from him.
"And when he's competing hard and doing it without fouling defensively, his offense comes. It flows, and he's a very capable offensive player, as we know."
Carlisle frowns when Beaubois tries to go coast-to-coast in heavy traffic. Or when he attempts an ill-advised behind-the-back passes.
"We're making it real clear to him what we want," Carlisle said. "We're not into the fancy stuff.
"We're into competing and getting after it. He's getting some momentum -- it's all about building up consistency."
Beaubois has impressed Carlisle with his improvement on defense. In Thursday's game at Utah, the 6-foot-2 Beaubois leaped to block a jumper by Paul Millsap, who stands 6-8.
Beaubois had two blocks and a season-high 17 points in 18 minutes against the Jazz, and added three steals, a block and seven points in 17 minutes during Saturday's 83-81 triumph over New Orleans.
"I'm working on my defense," Beaubois said. "I know that coach Carlisle really wants me to play better defense.
"I still have to get better at it, but I'm working on it. He trusts me that I can do it, so I just have to work at it and get better."
Whenever Kidd retires, the Mavs, who host Phoenix at 7:30 tonight, are leaning toward turning the keys of their offense over to Beaubois. But only if he finds a way to put some consistent games back-to-back to the point where they trust him with those keys.
"I remember early on in training camp I told you guys that, for him, the sky is really the limit," center Ian Mahinmi said. "He can do so much stuff if he's really focused.
"And if he's really willing to do it every night, he can do some unbelievable stuff. He's hard to guard, he can shoot, and he can drive left-right."
When asked about Beaubois, Kidd expands his chest like a proud papa. He understands how far his protégé has come to get to where he is today.
"Roddy is doing great," Kidd said. "He's starting to show the hard work -- and also he's listening -- because we all want him to be successful.
"You could see on this road trip that he's starting to grow."
Multiple fractures to his left foot during his first two seasons derailed Beaubois' progress.
"The foot is good so far," Beaubois said. "It was very tough dealing with that. It's life, but I have to just forget about it. It's getting better and better."
Now if Beaubois can shake that carefree playing style he sometimes takes to the court, he'll really win over Carlisle.
"He's been able to maintain his health -- and that was the first problem," Terry said. "But now that he is healthy he has to start having a steady increase in his performances and be consistent, which is a struggle for all young players.
"Defensively, he's athletic, he's long and he's quick enough to stay in front of people and disrupt them. What J.J. [Barea] did for us last year is, he was just a pest on both ends of the floor, and that's the same thing we need Roddy doing."
And the Mavs need that on a consistent basis.
"He's rebounding and he's starting to understand that he can do more than just score," Kidd said. "So that's just growth and being in this league, and also being comfortable and having confidence."
Dwain Price, 817-390-7760