When the benching of Patrick Beverley in the opening round of the NBA Playoffs coincided with the emergence of Reggie Jackson, many began to question whether Beverley's best days with the Clippers were behind him.
With Luka Dončić leading the Dallas Mavericks' attack in that opening round, Patrick Beverley's defensive proficiency could not outweigh his lack of size. Despite playing the point guard position, Luka is built like a forward. His 6'7", 230 lb frame gives him 6 inches and 50 pounds on the 6'1", 180 lb Pat Bev. As talented as Beverley is defensively, this was an insurmountable mismatch that led to him seeing just 10 MPG in that series.
As previously mentioned, this decrease in Pat Bev's role was met with the emergence of Reggie Jackson. Once inserted into the starting lineup against the Mavs, Reggie averaged 18.2 PPG on 46/42/86 percent shooting splits. After falling down 0-2, the Clippers went 4-1 the rest of the series with Reggie as the starting point guard.
With the Clippers drawing the Utah Jazz in the Western Conference Semi-Finals, a team led by Donovan Mitchell, it quickly became evident that Patrick Beverley would need a much bigger role if the Clippers were going to beat Utah. After a regular season loss to the Clippers in February, Donovan Mitchell credited Pat Bev with making his life difficult, stating that Bev is first team all-defense for a reason. The stats supported Mitchell's claim, because in the 55 possessions he was defended by Beverley in the regular season, Mitchell went just 4/14 from the field.
After strategically benching him in the opening round, coach Ty Lue deployed Patrick Beverley for a much larger role against Donovan Mitchell and the Utah Jazz. As the eye test, individual numbers, and series results show, Pat Bev answered the call. In the 45 possessions that Beverley guarded Mitchell in the playoffs, Spida scored just 10 points on 23% from the field, turned the ball over 4 times, and was blocked 5 times. In the 72 minutes that Mitchell and Beverley shared the court, the Clippers were a +29.
It is abundantly clear that the Clippers would not have beaten the Utah Jazz if it were not for Pat Bev's ability to lock up Donovan Mitchell, and while the Clippers were not able to overcome the loss of Kawhi Leonard in the WCF, Pat Bev's defensive dominance carried over into that series as well.
Coming into the WCF, Devin Booker was averaging nearly 30 PPG in the previous two rounds. His dominance helped Phoenix eliminate the defending champs in the opening round, and sweep the MVP in round two. It was clear that the Clippers must slow him down if they wanted any chance at advancing to the NBA Finals.
After Booker put up a 40-point triple double in game one of the WCF, Ty Lue inserted Patrick Beverley into the starting lineup for the remainder of the series. While the Clippers were unable to overcome the loss of Kawhi Leonard, Ivica Zubac, and Serge Ibaka, Pat Bev had Booker locked up. In the 110 possessions that Pat Bev guarded Booker, D-Book shot just 28% from the field, turned the ball over 7 times, and did not make a single three-point basket.
With Ty Lue proving the ability and willingness to deploy his players into the matchups that are most advantageous for them and the team, having Patrick Beverley on the roster is a luxury that can hardly be replicated. While he was severely outmatched by the size and strength of Luka Dončić in round one, he was absolutely dominant against two of the league's top scorers in the next two rounds.
If Pat Bev's diminished role against the Dallas Mavericks led some to question his future with the team, his performance during the rest of the playoffs should eliminate all of those doubts. While injuries kept the Clippers from reaching their ultimate goal, Patrick Beverley proved that he is still a key component in their pursuit of it.