Los Angeles is a pretty bland basketball town now that Chris Paul has left. Blake Griffin is as quiet as mouse and most of his teammates are chill dudes who don’t make waves. Across town, the Lakers biggest personality is not even a player but the father of a player. It’s a perfect storm for Patrick Beverley who was traded for Chris Paul and is only asked to come in and do Pat Beverley things, first and foremost defend and talk trash. He does both equally well and has the ability to back it up. He’ll never be an All-Star or top-10 player but he is an elite wing defender, he plays hard, he made James Harden’s defense actually look presentable and he is in a city that is hungry for personality. With Pat Beverley around, there is not going to be a dull moment. When the Clippers and Lakers meet up again in a month, the game won’t be close but the entertainment factor will be worth the t.v. watch.
LaVar Ball famously asked, “who is Patrick Beverley?”
Last season, he was first team All-Defense. He was second team All-Defense in 2013. He gives the Clippers what they haven’t had, a wing who can hound a scorer until that scorer tears his meniscus which is what Beverley did to Russell Westbrook, ending his playoffs in 2013, causing the entire state of Oklahoma to hate Beverley, which he relished. Then, this past April when he met Westbrook in the first round of the playoffs, Beverley was his normal keeping it 100 self. He recounted how Westbrook barked at him, “No one can guard me. I got 40 points.” Beverley replied back, “That’s nice. It took 34 shots to get it. Men lie. Women lie. Numbers don’t lie.”
That’s what makes Beverley a huge X-factor for the Clippers. Not only can he annoy and irritate the wing scorer and get into his head, the refs let him get away with grabbing and pulling and hounding because his aggressive style is his identity. On the offensive side of the ball, Beverley’s last three seasons he shot 35%, 40% and 38% from three. He’s not J.J. Redick but he can hit an open jumper from Griffin and bail out a stagnant offense.
The Clippers have never had a tough, gritty, all he wants to do is defend and muck the game up player. Take this to the bank: Beverley will be the Clippers emotional leader.
Beverley has two years left on his deal for $5 mil per but that is not the point. Now that Beverley has landed in a personality deprived basketball town his brand of truth telling, bragging, flexing and generally spiking the football will fill the void of a Chris Paul-less, Kobe Bryant-less town. It’s something to talk about. Like when he called Lonzo Ball “weak”. More accurately he was screaming weak ass motherf__________. Dont put that motherf_______ on me as he walked into the locker room after his Lonzo Ball humiliation.
This is the irony. Take the Lonzo Ball coin and reverse it. That is the Pat Beverley story. He didn’t have the luxury of privilege and entitlement growing up in Chicago that Ball had in Chino Hills. Everything Beverley has in the NBA he worked and struggled for. He was drafted by the Lakers and then played overseas (Ukraine, Russia and Greece) for five seasons before returning to the states and playing five seasons for the Rockets.
Patrick Beverley was recently asked about standing for the national anthem. He thought the answer was obvious.
“I’m good and I’m happy to be here. I remember overseas for five years, not being able to hear that national anthem. I appreciate being an American.”
Patriotism aside, keeping the faithful entertained in a changing of the guard season with just one star in tow is a lot more interesting now that Beverley is taking names and proving he can slow down elite guards and get in rookies heads and play harder than anyone on the court. He is not the Chris Paul memory eraser. But. In the mighty west his defense, willfulness and guts just may keep the Clippers in a playoff spot.
But if all else fails, he’s in media rich, beautiful L.A. where his story about surviving his basketball life really could be a must-see movie, starring of course, Patrick Beverley.
photo via llananba