It’s easy to forget in this new age of Luka Dončić, but there was a time in Dallas Mavericks history when having a rookie or young player do anything more than warm the bench was so rare, as to be positively exotic. Only the real ones remember good ol’ Rodrigue Beaubois:
Mavs coach Rick Carlisle has long had a (not-entirely-true) reputation for having short leashes for young guys. Beaubois, despite his potential for explosive scoring, wasn’t exempt from this treatment – he never averaged more than 21.7 minutes per game in the four seasons he spent with the team.
A fan base starved of young, exciting talent came to coin the #FreeRoddyB hashtag – now a relic of a curious time in Mavs history after his career in the NBA flamed out in just four seasons due to injury.
Well, it may be time to revive that hashtag, with a twist: #FreeRowdyB.
It may simply be a result of the mid-season trades Dallas made (and the recent season-ending injury to Tim Hardaway Jr.), but some long overdue minutes are finally coming Ryan Broekhoff’s way. Over the last three games, he’s averaged 23.6 minutes, significantly higher than his 9.4 per game average over the whole season thus far.
They haven’t been empty minutes either. Prior to his team-high plus-minus in Dallas’ most recent game against the Sacramento Kings, he put up a career high 17 points in the blowout win over the Golden State Warriors (yes, that happened).
He also had 13 points on 4-of-6 3-point shooting in the first game of this three-game stretch, also against the Kings. He’s good! We told you so! Are you listening, Rick?!
Rowdy still has one more year left on his deal, but it’s fully non-guaranteed. The Mavs likely have grand plans for the offseason to bring one more big-name talent to complement Luka and Kristaps Porzingis. Much as I’d hate for Damian’s words to come true, Broekhoff’s contract could be an easy way to free up some cap space if Dallas needs it, and he’s probably shown enough for another team to take him on if he does get cut.
For now, let’s just hope playing time continues to pile up for our favourite basketball-playing accountant, and that he keeps balling out. For what it’s worth, I’d love for him to stick with the Mavs – you can never have enough sharpshooting glue guys, IMO.