LOS ANGELES – ‘Check ball.' That's been Patrick Beverley‘s message over social media the last couple of weeks as the LA Clippers and the NBA geared up for the restart in Orlando.
Training camp has begun in Orlando for Beverley and the Clippers despite a few players having not arrived yet. As far as the guys who are there, it doesn't appear the four months off has significantly affected them.
“I know conditioning-wise, I think overall we have shown to be in really good shape,” head coach Doc Rivers said on Tuesday. “It's still obviously not like basketball shape. I've been pleasantly surprised there.
“The mental part is a tough process. You have to go through it. You're living outside of your house, just different conditions. I think that is an area that everyone is still just trying to process and grow and get set for. I do think we came here with the right mindset, but I still think we just got to go through a lot of this and get our mindset.”
Patrick Beverley spent a lot of time with family during the hiatus, but says it hasn't been hard to be away from the game because he hasn't been away from the game.
“Nah, for me basketball is a year-long sport so I don't know anything about taking time off,” Beverley told members of the media in his first media availability. “I've just been doing what I've been doing throughout the last couple years. That's working on my body, working on my craft, working on my mind, and trying to make myself the best weapon possible. I'm just fortunate to be here.”
The set up of the Orlando bubble has been a topic of discussion the last few weeks. Can the NBA keep players, coaches, and staff safe inside the bubble? Is there enough to do to not lose your mind for three weeks? So far, Beverley says it's been a great experience.
“Very smooth. Very professional. The whole setup here is top-notch. You just get to hone in and focus on basketball. Kind of gets you some quality time to yourself away from friends and family. For some people it's a good thing, for some people it's a bad thing. For me, I'm going to take advantage of this idle time and use it to my advantage.”
The last four months weren't normal by any standards. Teams were forced to stay home as much as possible and were not allowed to work out in their practice facilities. Any workouts had to be done at home or in an isolated environment for the safety of players and their families.
The Clippers sent workout equipment to their families' homes, and Paul George even said that team owner Steve Ballmer purchased hoops for players who didn't have any to keep shooting throughout the hiatus.
Beverley has done his part to keep the Clippers focused on the end game: winning the wait and the pursuit for the NBA Championship.
“I just think everyone on our team, you know how we roll, everyone has a voice no matter if you're the top dog or not getting a lot of time at all. Everybody has a voice. We listen to everybody. Me, K (Kawhi), PG, Lou, Trez, Mook (Marcus), all the veterans on the team, we try to make sure we in contact with every guy at least once or twice a week.
“Really wasn't like a break for us because we're in so much communication all the time. Just to get those words, say those things in person is definitely a different feeling when you get around all the guys. It's a brotherhood here, camaraderie here. We just picked up where we left off.”
Beverley was having a fantastic year for the Clippers before the hiatus, averaging 7.9 points, 5.4 rebounds, 3.7 assists, and 1.1 steals per game while shooting 38 percent from beyond the arc.
The Clippers' first scrimmage comes on July 22nd against the Orlando Magic. The hope is that everyone is healthy and ready to go by then. Even if that isn't the case, expect nothing to change about Patrick Beverley and his style of play.