Patrick Beverley’s message to kids aspiring to be Steph Curry, Giannis, James Harden
LOS ANGELES – LA Clippers guard Patrick Beverley had one of the toughest routes to the NBA. His well-documented story took him from the dangerous streets of Chicago to Europe just in hopes of pursuing his NBA career. The high school star didn’t have the traditional route that guys like Stephen Curry, James Harden, or even Giannis Antetokounmpo did.
Beverley’s numbers don’t stand out to anyone. For his career, he averages 8.9 points, 4.4 rebounds, 3.5 assists, and 1.2 steals on 41 percent shooting from the field and 38% from beyond the arc. One might call him… ‘unstatable.’ The two-time All Defensive team member signed a three-year, $40 million deal last summer, but not because of his numbers. Beverley earned that deal by becoming one of the greatest impact players in the NBA today.
Beverley’s got the ability to do whatever his teams need him to. This season alone, he’s got 16 games with at least six rebounds, 11 games with at least six assists, and 17 games in double-figure scoring. If that doesn’t sell you on his impact, just look at his plus/minus from his 10 lowest scoring games of the season. In those 10 lowest scoring games, Beverley combined for a combined 29 points and a plus/minus of +93.
Between the Rockets and Clippers, the one thing Beverley has made himself the last 8 years is indispensable. With the exception of the 2017-18 season in which he only played 11 games due to a complex knee injury, here’s how Beverley’s teams have fared with him when he plays and sits over the last three seasons.
2016-17 w/ HOU: 9-6 without (.600), 46-21 with (.687) — net rating of +8.4*
2018-19 w/ LAC: 0-4 without (.000), 48-30 with (.615) — net rating of +4.0*
2019-20 w/ LAC: 7-9 without (.438), 35-10 with (.778) — net rating of +8.7*
*net rating defined as how many points better or worse a team is when a specific player is on the court per 100 possessions*
Since Patrick Beverley’s return from a groin injury, the Clippers are 5-0. Two of those games against the Nuggets and Sixers, Beverley finished with no points. He’s had three points against the Thunder, six points against the Grizzlies, and 11 points against the Suns.
His impact, as many know by now, comes from so much more than just his point total.
“I just try to show people different ways,” said Beverley. “You have people in this league that can score and that’s good, but what else can you do to impact the game and winning? It’s not a lot of people out there.”
Beverley doesn’t have the size that Giannis Antetokounmpo has, the shooting that Stephen Curry has, or the explosiveness that Russell Westbrook has.
And that’s the point.
At 6-foot-1 and 185 lbs, Beverley doesn’t have the flashy style, stunning physical attributes, or the eye-popping numbers that make up today’s NBA superstars, but he’s made himself central to everything his team does without having to do all of those things on a nightly basis.
“Every kid’s not gonna be seven-feet. Every kid’s not gonna be Steph Curry, or Greek Freak, James Harden, Russell Westbrook. The average kid looks like me, my height, my size. How can you impact winning? That’s been my biggest thing. If I don’t score, you’re gonna know I was out there. My defense not on tonight? You’re gonna know I was out there, and that’s my biggest thing. Impact the game by any means and that’s what I try to do every night.”
Aside from Westbrook, Beverley’s peers already know what he brings. He’s also receiving the highest of praises from coaches around the NBA now as well.
“He is a disruptive force,” said Denver Nuggets head coach Michael Malone. “He has the ability to, by himself, pressure the ball, get into people. Every minute he’s on the court, and I respect this about Patrick Beverley, he leaves it all on the line and he makes his opponent feel him every second he’s on the floor. When you add to that the fact that he’s shooting lights out from the three-point line, it’s not just a one-way player. He’s a guy that is impacting the game at a high level on both ends of the floor, and obviously has come through a lot of hard work and repetition so you have to give a lot of respect to Patrick Beverley in that regard.”
“He’s a Pit Bull,” added Philadelphia 76ers head coach Brett Brown. “He’s a stalking, harassing, physical, cocky guard, and I say that with tremendous respect. And everybody needs something in the program that has that bite and he has that, and it’s a role that other people feed off. It’s a role that can bring a championship caliber quality type of team together, and from afar, I’ve always respected his tenacity and his toughness, and I can see how and why he would be missed when he’s not with them.”
Last season, the Clippers lost three consecutive games in the final week of the season and it landed them a date with the Golden State Warriors in the first round. The three-game slide coincided with Beverley’s absence.
Just in the last month-and-a-half, the Clippers lost five of the eight games Beverley didn’t play, including to the Atlanta Hawks without Trae Young, Minnesota Timberwolves without D’Angelo Russell, and Sacramento Kings.
“We obviously miss his intensity,” admitted Rivers during the stretch. “We miss his voice just calling out coverages. I think he also holds everyone accountable and he may be the best point guard rebounder in the league… Those long rebounds that require toughness. That’s right up Pat’s alley so I think we missed a lot from him.”
If this season has shown anything, it’s that health is wealth for this Clippers team. If they remain healthy, they have a great chance to win games. It’s a small sample size, but thus far, the team is 9-0 when everyone is fully healthy and available to play. The Clippers are 19-4 when Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, and Beverley all play.
“My goal is always how can I get better?” Patrick Beverley says. “My mindset is to always try to find a way to get better. How can I get better, how can I get better, how can I get better? And that’s just always been my mindset.”
If the team stays healthy, we should be able to see just how much better the Clippers get heading into the highly anticipated postseason.