Year in Review: Patrick Beverley
Reflecting upon Patrick Beverley's past, present and future following the 2013-14 campaign
During the height of his heyday in Houston, Shane Battier acquired a moniker as the “No-Stats All-Star” due to his ability to significantly impact winning without needing to stuff the stat sheet with eye-popping numbers. Now two years into his NBA career, Patrick Beverley has emerged as a potential successor to that particular crown.
Beverley isn’t a big time scorer, nor does he rack up robust assist numbers. All he does, it seems, is win. When Beverley took the floor this season, the Rockets emerged victorious nearly 70 percent of the time, rolling up a 39-17 record. When he suited up in street clothes, however, the club was a much more modest 15-11 (.577 winning percentage). Houston’s net rating leader during the 2013-14 campaign? Yep, it was Pat Beverley. Ditto for the Rockets’ rotation regular with the highest per possession plus-minus.
Obviously a solid chunk of the 25-year-old’s success is attributable to fit and scarcity; he complements fellow starters James Harden and Dwight Howard exceptionally well, and there was simply no one else on the Rockets’ roster who could consistently deliver the crazed combination of tenacity and toughness he brought on a nightly basis to Houston’s backcourt. Few in the NBA can, in fact.
To that end, Beverley – like Battier before him – has made his name in large part due to his work on the defensive end of the floor. His high-pressure, on-ball defense is out of this world, as illustrated by the fact that opponents turned the ball over nearly 20 percent of the time when facing him in isolation situations while hitting just 26 percent of their shots, according to Synergy Sports.
The Chicago native also resembles his fellow Midwesterner in their mutual ability to excel at the small details that frequently get left off the late-night highlight packages. Beverley is a master at gaining precious extra possessions for his club as he led all players at his position in offensive rebound rate, and he takes good care of those possessions as well by rarely turning the ball over. And though the University of Arkansas product is never going to be the focal point of the offense, he’s plenty capable of making opposing defenses pay for ignoring him. Beverley’s pick-and-roll metrics were outstanding this season, he displayed a deft touch on floaters – connecting at a rate of better than 65 percent on such shots – and during the last four months of the season he knocked down 38 percent of his 3s as well.
Ill-timed injury and illness prevented Beverley from playing at anywhere close to 100 percent physically during the playoffs, limiting his ability to consistently deliver the same sort of impact he produced during the majority of the 2013-14 campaign. But his overall body of work left little doubt regarding just how pivotal a role he played in the Rockets’ season-long quest to reach their ceiling as a title contending team.
It’s beyond tempting to tag the ultimate Beverley game for this spot since his zero-point, 10-rebound, 8-assist, 5-steal showing against the Cavaliers on February 1 showcased the myriad ways he elevates his team to higher ground without needing to put the ball in the basket a single time. But it would be a crime to overlook his role in the Rockets’ remarkable February 23 rally on the road in Phoenix when Houston overcame a double-digit fourth quarter deficit to stun the Suns 115-112. Beverley scored 12 of his season-high 20 points in the final frame that night, including a coldblooded 3 he nailed with 34 seconds remaining to give the Rockets the lead for good. His defense down the stretch was a sight to behold, too, as helped to cool the previously scorching Goran Dragic.
Through three quarters of play, that game had 20-point defeat written all over it. Beverley’s relentlessness was a big reason why the Rockets avoided that fate. And his primal scream when the final buzzer sounded summed up the emotion felt in the immediate wake of what surely represented one of the team’s signature wins of the season.
THE NEXT STEP
Stay healthy – that’s really what lies at the center of Beverley’s growth going forward. Oh sure, he requires the same sort of overall improvement demanded of every young player – shot refinement, better floor generalship, deeper understanding of league-wide schemes, etc. – but all of that takes a backseat to his ability to stay on the floor. To be sure, luck plays a massive role in health and Beverley experienced more than his fair share of bad breaks while suffering through a series of ailments that led to him missing 26 games this past season. And though it’s possible his hard-charging style perhaps makes him slightly more susceptible to injury, not a soul would suggest he dial back that which makes him such a unique, dynamic player. Rather, he simply needs to ensure his training, treatment and prevention regimens are impeccable moving forward in order to better tilt the odds in his favor so that he can continue to torment opponents and wreak havoc in his own inimitable way on a more regular basis.