Player Review: Patrick Beverley Proves he's Worth the Price
Throughout his eight-year NBA career, Patrick Beverley has established himself as one of the hardest-working players in the league. The 31-year-old never takes a possession off and treats every single one as though it's the most important of the game.
So when he agreed to the most lucrative contract of his career with the L.A. Clippers last summer, it was clear that he had earned it. But entering the 2019-2020 campaign, there were some questions from outsiders about whether he was worth the $40 million he had signed for.
Although Beverley's role has decreased this season, his performance has left no doubt that he deserves every penny.
Unfortunately, Beverley didn't get much of an opportunity to leave a lasting impression on Clippers fans in his first season. He appeared in just 11 games before undergoing season-ending surgery on his knee.
But Beverley returned with a vengeance in his first full season with the club in 2018-2019, appearing in 78 games and starting in 49. It was then that he truly established an identity with the Clippers as a defensive force and a tone-setter for the team.
Just having Beverley in the starting rotation made a huge difference for last year's squad. The Clippers went 35-14 in those 49 starts and 13-16 in games when he came off the bench.
L.A. was hungrier and scrappier with Beverley playing a vital role, and it was clear that the team would need to keep him to maintain that same identity.
Fortunately, Beverley was on the same page. As the L.A. Times first reported last summer, he took a lesser offer to return to the Clippers so that he could continue to play his own game for an organization and fan base that had accepted him for exactly who he was.
Beverley's 2019-2020 campaign was almost a carbon copy of the one before it. He played virtually the same number of minutes and averaged a similar amount of points, rebounds and assists per game.
His impact on wins and losses was about the same, too. While he did start in all 48 of his appearances this season, Beverley did miss 16 games due to injury. The Clippers were 37-11 in games in which he was active and 7-9 in those he missed.
His percentages did dip a bit — while his field goal percentage rose from .407 to .428, he wasn't as efficient from three-point range as some had hoped and he shot a career-low from the free-throw line.
That said, it's wrong to base Beverley's performance solely on statistics. So much of what he does on the court doesn't show up in the box score. More than anything, he's a motivator. Seeing him play defense and hustle and celebrate makes those around him want to do the same.
Paul George can vouch for that. In February, he told The Orange County Register about how his outlook on the game has changed since teaming up with Beverley.
"You would have thought Pat had 40 tonight the way he was running and smiling and just having fun with the game," George said. "That's what it's about. I tip my hat to Pat. It's contagious when you've got a guy who plays to win and doesn't care what his stats look like... It changed me. I just wanna go out there and hoop. I don't care what happens — if I make shots, if I miss shots — as long as I'm impacting winning, and we come out with a win, that's all that matters."
Perhaps Beverley's most iconic moment of the season was the ending of the Christmas Day game between the Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers. After the Clippers had mounted a 15-point comeback, LeBron James had the ball with a chance to tie the game back up with less than 10 seconds to play. With Beverley draped on him, James rose from three-point range but had the ball poked away before he could get his shot off. The ball went back to the Clippers, who went on to win, 111-106.
Beverley's line in that game — 8 points, 9 rebounds and 4 assists — is nothing special. But in a five-point victory over one of the best teams in basketball, he was a +26. That alone speaks volumes about the player Beverley is and the season he had with the L.A. Clippers.
Beverley is under contract with the Clippers through 2022, and as one of the most essential assets to the team, he won't be going anywhere anytime soon. He represents the team's culture more so than any other player on the roster, and as long as he maintains that same intensity, he will continue to be one of the faces of the franchise.