Stats (as of February 1st): 8.1 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 2.1 APG, 0.8 BPG, 1.0 SPG, 40.0 FG%, 41.4 3PT%, 76.2 FT%, 56.5 TS%
Patrick Beverley is a confounding player in the modern NBA. In a league that, at this point, essentially requires a ball-dominant guard that can create offense for himself and others, Beverley is a remnant of a bygone era: the Derek Fisher mold of point guard. His primary assignments are to hit spot-up threes and guard the other team’s point guard, complimenting a dynamic wing player around whom the offense revolves. This mold fits perfectly with the Clippers, who have two such dynamic wings. Because of this, counting stats are essentially all out the window when it comes to Beverley. His value in a given year is determined by those two essential assignments: threes and defense.
Beverley’s three-point shooting, as with nearly every Clipper this season, has been spectacular. He’s hitting a career-high 41.4% from the promised land, and he hasn’t been shy about taking them. Given his strict assignment (again, threes and defense), the majority of Beverley’s shot attempts should be taken from beyond the arc. He’s overachieving in this respect, taking 67% of his shots from three (also a career-high).
The problem is the other third of his attempts. Beverley’s two-point shooting has been atrocious—37%, by far a career-low. His finishing around the basket is inconsistent to say the least. His lack of size and ball-handling makes it difficult for him to get past his defender and get to the rim. He’s a bit of a one-trick pony offensively at this point of his career, but it’s a good sign that he knows what he excels in and is playing to his strengths.
Defensively, Beverley, who has made three All-Defensive teams throughout his career, has been who he always has been: a tenacious, annoying bulldog (chihuahua?) who frustrates whomever he’s guarding into turnovers, panic passes and offensive fouls. His defensive energy is palpable, but he can often get overaggressive to a fault. He’s averaging 1.9 steals per 100 possessions, which is good, but this also means he’s swiping at a lot of balls and gambling quite a bit. Beverley commits 6.7 personal fouls per 100 possessions (3.5 per game) which ranks 16th in the entire NBA. Though he is still a huge positive on defense, these bad habits subtract a bit from his overall value. Placing the opposing offense in the bonus early means his teammates can’t gamble as much defensively either. George and Leonard are also defensive hounds, but if they’re fearful of sending the player they’re guarding to the free throw line as a result of a reach-in foul, they’re going to be less aggressive.
Beverley is a known quantity at this point. A three-and-D point guard if there ever was one, he’s a perfect compliment to Leonard and George when he’s making his jumpers, limiting bad shots and playing tough (but not reckless) defense. He’s done that for the most part this season, but as with the entirety of this Clippers roster, it matters most whether he does it in the postseason.
Beverley has been sidelined with right knee soreness for the past few games. Here’s hoping his jumpshot will be as potent when he returns.