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Clippers’ Patrick Beverley says he based game after Kevin Garnett

If you were to compile a list of current NBA players that you absolutely hate to go up against but would love to have on your team, point guard Patrick Beverley is going to be around the top of nearly everyone’s list. That’s been the case with the LA Clippers and their head coach Doc Rivers this season, having to deal with the defensive pressure of Beverley a number of times over the last few years only to enjoy having him on their side.

“He’s just a nuisance,” said Rivers before the Clippers took on the Jazz on Tuesday night. “I mean, I hated Patrick Beverley until this year. Now, I love him. He’s one of those guys that’s been around the league. The Bill Laimbeer’s, the Dennis Rodman’s, you just go through the list, he’s one of them.”

In an era of the NBA where teams are getting out and running on every possession, the Clippers have held opponents under 100 points in each of the three games, specifically to a league-low 88 points per game. While their competition hasn’t been the best, they’ve shown the versatility to be a strong defensive team this season and it starts with the guy pressuring the ball 94 feet.

“That’s his mentality against everyone,” said teammate Blake Griffin after Beverley’s impressive opening night performance against the Lakers. “It doesn’t matter if its Lonzo or whoevers next. That’s just his mentality. Pat wakes up like that. When you see someone dogging the ball like that, you have no choice but to be there for him if he does get beat, if there’s a pick, or whatever it is.”

Patrick Beverley

@laclippers/ Twitter

Beverley’s attitude on the floor resembles a recently-retired power forward who found his niche on the defensive end of the floor. In his first year in the league, Garnett averaged just 10.4 points and 6.3 rebounds, but came up with 1.1 steals and 1.6 blocks per game, and that doesn’t include a number of shots he helped change from makes to misses.

Garnett went on to have a decade’s worth of great defense, but it was the energy and intensity he brought to the court every night that made him a nightmare for opposing teams. It’s no wonder, then, that Patrick Beverley, who plays with a similar type of game, models himself after the former 12-time All-Defensive team member and 2007-08 Defensive Player of the Year.

“Kevin Garnett,” Beverley quickly responded. “That’s why I wear [jersey] No. 21. That’s why I lay my hat on defense like that. It’s because of KG.”

He isn’t the only one to see it too, as coach Rivers, who had the opportunity to coach Garnett for five seasons and win an NBA Championship together in 2008, sees the similarities between Beverley and Garnett as well.

Kevin Garnett

Winslow Townson/ Associated Press

“I think he is just motivated every night,” added Rivers. “I just think that’s Pat Beverley. I have never seen him not motivated. It’s just who he is. You should see him in practice. He reminds me a lot of Kevin Garnett. You don’t think all that energy is for real when you’re on the other side. Then, you get him on your team and you realize, ‘no, this is him every day.’ He’s deadly serious about basketball and he’s extremely competitive. That’s just who he is.”

If there’s a type of player the Clippers seemed to lack over the past couple of years, it’s a player of Beverley’s tenacity and energy. Their former guard Chris Paul was a stellar defender and a pick on that end of the ball, but was mainly known for his offensive wizardry. Beverley said it best himself when he was first introduced to the Clippers: “I am not Chris Paul. I reiterate, I am not Chris Paul. In saying that, he’s not me either.”