Los Angeles Clippers: How Patrick Beverley Will Impact 2018-19 Season

The L.A. Clippers got hit with, what can only be described as, a category five monsoon of injuries last season. Every single day one starter missed time due to injury with Danilo Gallinari, Milos Teodosic, Blake Griffin and Austin Rivers all missing more than 20 games. The one injury that started it all, and was the most serious as well, was Patrick Beverley’s season-ending injury to his right knee.

Over the 11 games that Beverley participated in, he averaged 12.2 points, 4.1 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game on 40% shooting. He also started all 11 of those games and was a perimeter defensive hound, infamously frustrating rookie Lonzo Ball in his first ever game.

In these 11 games, Beverley was also shooting the ball well from deep with a career-high 40% from 3 and was averaging a career best 1.7 steals per game. The small sample size probably would have evened out throughout the year, but this promising start just makes Beverley’s injury all that more frustrating for Clips fans.

In his short time, Beverley has endeared himself to Clipper fans, not only with his ferocious play on the court but also with what he does off of it. He genuinely seems to enjoy being in L.A. and playing for L.A.’s “other team.” He has been an underdog his whole life, and I think he carries that chip on his shoulder at all times. Thus, he enjoys when people talk mess about the Clips because he’s got the teams back.

In July he told TMZ that he thought the Clippers were the best team in the Western Conference. He also mentioned that the new look Clippers backcourt with him and Avery Bradley was “like having two Gary Payton’s playing with each other.” This kind of confidence has been missing from the Clippers organization, basically forever, and while it is a sort of a blind confidence, you have to love it coming from your starting point guard.

Beverley has had an interesting career up to this point. Instead of playing out his junior and senior seasons at the University of Arkansas, Beverley decided to go to Europe to play for Dnipro, a team in the Ukranian league. After one year there, he was drafted in 2009 in the second round by the Los Angeles Lakers with the 43rd pick. Instead of donning the purple and gold, Beverley went back to Europe where he stayed until 2012.

He came back to the states to play for the Houston Rockets, as a 24-year-old rookie. He stayed with them for five seasons, where he went from backup point guard to starting point guard and an essential part of their team. In the 2017 offseason, he came to the Clippers via the Chris Paul trade and subsequently became the day one starting point guard.

All signs are pointing to him returning to that post come late October, despite the Clippers drafting point guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander with the 12th pick in the first round of the 2018 NBA Draft. It’s a smart move as the Clippers are probably going to want to work Alexander in off-the-bench first and have him develop with the second unit against other teams second units. Beverley’s impact will lie on him, of course being healthy, but also being the vocal leader that the Clippers will need in the absence of Deandre Jordan and Blake Griffin.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EIF7L29GGHs

It’s crazy to think that with only one season under his belt, Beverley is one of the longest-tenured Clipper players on the roster, but it’s true! The only people on the roster that have been in L.A. for more than one year are Wesley Johnson and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute and he doesn’t even really count due to him being a Rocket last year. What Beverley can bring to the table is a precedence of hard work, experience, defense and leadership at the point guard spot.

On the court, Beverley is known for his tough nagging defense, his speed, and strong handle. He has never averaged more than 13 points a game in a season and has never been a go-to scoring type. The Clippers will not ask that from him as most of the scoring will reside with Tobias Harris, Gallinari, Lou Williams and others.

Where Beverley’s impact will be felt the most on the offensive end is by running a consistent offense and driving and dishing. Beverley has never been known as a great passer. His 3.1 career assist totals as a point guard will make that obvious but he can find the open man well and can get into the lane. Look for more of that this year.

Defensively, I look for Beverley to continue to be an absolute beast on the perimeter and hopefully return to that All-Defensive first team as he achieved in 2017. He is known to be one of the more consistent guards that can both rebound and steal the ball.

His career 4.1 rebound totals and 1.3 steals a game show that he has a knack for getting his hands on the ball on the defensive end. After watching a season where the Clippers ranked 19th in defensive rating and having opposing guards go around Teodosic, Williams, and Rivers all the time, it’ll be nice to see Beverley and Bradley man the perimeter and contain guards. “Lock City” here we come.

On the Staples Center floor is not where I see Beverley’s impact being felt the most, however. Where I think Beverley’s impact will be felt the most is during practices. Especially with him guarding the new guy in Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Beverley can speed up his development by providing tough defense from day one and Alexander will be able to get a feel for the NBA game quicker.

With Beverley being 30 years old and an unrestricted free-agent in 2019, he is not a super long-term option. He will be the starting point come game one of 2018, but will he be the starter come game 75? That’s a question that will hard to answer until we see the play of both Beverley and Alexander this season.

The Clippers picked Alexander with the hopes that he will be the franchise point guard for years to come. Beverley was a solid trade pickup, on a cheap contract, that the Clippers kind of lucked into. I have full confidence that Beverley will be an essential piece this season, but his best impact will lie in helping to develop Gilgeous-Alexander.

Beverley has always been a team-first guy. That’s why I think he could take pride in helping with Alexander’s development and take pride in knowing that he will make his future replacement better every single day in practice. I hope that they go after each other in practice with the hopes that if he can score consistently against Beverley, he’ll be able to score against any guard in the league consistently.

As I stated in my previous post, the Clippers are both playing for the now and the future. In Beverley, they have their now. They have their starting point guard who we know will bring intense defense, consistent scoring, and leadership. They also have their future in Alexander and Beverley can be a huge factor in his rookie season, thus setting the Clippers up for success later.

If Beverley takes Alexander under his wing and shows him the ropes and how to be a lead point guard in the NBA, that will be Beverley’s most significant impact next season. I am looking forward to these two potentially being on the floor at the same time, clamping other team’s guards.

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