CJ McCollum will be sidelined for a minimum of 8-12 weeks with a broken left foot, leaving the Portland Trail Blazers with a decision to make; leave their 15th roster spot empty, or attempt to temporarily replace him with a free agent on a non-guaranteed contract. Looking at their training camp stock, it would appear that Dee Bost is next in line, if anyone, but I’ve got a better idea.
Rodrigue Beaubois was not retained by the Dallas Mavericks when last season ended. He is one of the few free agents of reasonable quality still without a team (alongside Daniel Gibson, Dahntay Jones, and Corey Maggette). Since the Mavs brought in Jose Calderon, Monta Ellis, and Devin Harris to go with draft pick Shane Larkin at the point, they simply had no need for him.
That’s not to say he was cast aside on a whim. Beaubois frequently clashed with head coach Rick Carlisle and was consequently benched on and off all season. He is not without his problems. Pent up frustration and lack of playing time saw his production taper early. Four years into his NBA career, the promise he showed as a rookie was virtually unrecognizable behind erratic play and a hot temper.
Yet his upside remains. He is a skilled playmaker on both ends of the floor and boasts an impressive degree of quickness. With some help channeling his talent, Beaubois could still be an NBA success story. Besides, if the Bulls can pay Nate Robinson $1.1 million to hold down the fort for Derrick Rose and an often injured Kirk Hinrich, the Blazers can afford to take a chance on rowdy Roddy.
If welcomed into the Portland fold, Rodrigue Beaubois would be used most effectively as Damian Lillard’s backup. This pushes Mo Williams to shooting guard, which suits him well as a scorer. Suddenly, the Blazers have two stellar shooting guards without sacrificing much at the point. Sure, Crabbe and Barton recede to the background, but would they not have with a healthy McCollum anyway?
There is the question of size. Beaubois is only 6’0” and the Blazers’ second unit would be rather small if he played with Mo Williams, who is also 6’0”. Beaubois is a better defender than Williams, but the Blazers would have to get creative with the rotation to avoid matchup problems. Offense, on the other hand, is not an issue. Beuabois may not have the outside shooting stroke Portland is loaded with, but he is a finisher, shooting 66.2% at the rim over the course of his career.
By taking this path, the Blazers could become even deeper still with little money out of pocket. More importantly, they could luck into a new x-factor that may become a helpful in the long term as well. Most importantly, they can shuffle around the guards so that they do not have to depend on Barton or Crabbe as their first option off the bench at the two. Neither are ready right now, and Rodrigue Beaubois has the potential to diversify Portland’s skillset.