Near the top of the unwritten list of players who opponents hate to face but would love as a teammate resides a relentless, 6-foot-1 “dog” named Patrick Beverley.
He’s the defensive-minded point guard who made a name for himself years ago with the Houston Rockets, bringing indefatigable energy and a fearless mentality against the game’s biggest stars while earning stripes as a professional nuisance in the process.
Each of those qualities transferred with him to the LA Clippers -- the franchise Beverley was traded to in a multi-player deal for Chris Paul two summers ago -- and were on full-blown display in their most recent playoff appearance against Golden State.
Beverley, who was assigned the unenviable task of guarding Warriors star Kevin Durant, brought the intensity to a series many experts thought would end in a sweep. Helping get Durant ejected in Game 1, he then hounded the two-time Finals MVP in Game 2 as Durant was held to eight points and attempted just three shots when matched up against Beverley, his primary defender. The game ended with LA staging the greatest comeback in NBA playoff history.
While the Warriors would win the series in six, and Durant would respond with the prolific performances he’s accustomed to, Beverley has undoubtedly earned the respect of his peers.
He sat down to discuss that, free agency, his favorite teammate ever and his relationship with fellow Chicago native Derrick Rose.
NBA.com: You’ve really earned the respect from people across the league. LeBron James recently complimented you and a couple of other teammates. He called you a “dog” on the court. What did you think of that comment and what makes you such a dog out there?
Beverley: I just go out there and try to play the right way. I think my biggest trait is to play extremely hard within the rules of the game. It’s just different. When you’re in L.A., you have a different platform than playing anywhere else. Brighter lights. Bigger media. I’ve always been that type of dog player. But coming from Houston then coming to L.A., and of course playing Golden State on the biggest stage, it’s easier to notice more.
Respect big bro✊🏿 https://t.co/ZlsWMQDVSG— Patrick Beverley (@patbev21) April 27, 2019
NBA.com: Yeah, you guys didn’t get too many prime-time games this year.
Beverley: We only got like three (national) games this season. So yeah, a lot of people couldn’t see it.
NBA.com: Some spectators have labeled you as an ‘irritant’ on the court. Do you embrace that word as well?
Beverley: Nah, I just go out there and be me. I’m the same way if I play cards, if I play video games, if I’m competitive with the homies, I’m the same way. If people choose to have emotions or feelings behind the way I am all the time, then that’s on them.
NBA.com: Was Game 2 against the Warriors the craziest game you've ever been a part of? Down 31 in the third, and making the biggest comeback in NBA playoff history.
Beverley: Honestly, we were so lost in the game that we didn’t even know we were down that much until we looked up and it was a close game and we thought we had a chance. We just wanted to get lost in the game and that’s what we did Game 2.
NBA.com: Talk about your relationship with Derrick Rose. Two guys from Chicago, played against each other in high school and are somewhat best friends.
Beverley: He’s like my brother. Anything I ask for, he gives it. Vice versa. Whether it's a car to drive if I’m in his town for a week, or if his girl flies to L.A. and (the Minnesota Timberwolves) haven’t gotten there yet, then she comes to my house until they land. It’s just a family thing. We always support each other. Always have each other’s back. If someone’s going through surgery, we’re right there with him. It’s that Chicago love.
NBA.com: Did you watch the emotional documentary that came out this year of him finding out he got traded from the Bulls?
Beverley: I didn’t even watch. I don’t like to watch all that stuff.
NBA.com: Why not?
Beverley: Because I understand the type of player he is. And the way he puts his heart into things. You don’t want to see something like that.
NBA.com: What were your thoughts on that trade, going from you guys’ hometown to the city of New York?
Beverley: I thought it was a good opportunity for him. I thought he was leaving another platform and starting over new. Away from home. Finally get a chance to be his own man and start fresh. Besides the injuries, he played well in New York,. He came back and played well in Minnesota. If he’s healthy, he’s gonna be a dog.
NBA.com: Do you think he still has a case to make the Hall of Fame if he keeps at it?
Beverley: I think so. I think he’s gotta put a little bit more work in. I know his goal is trying to get Sixth Man, but I always tell him “just go out there and be you, dog. Whatever that is.”
NBA.com: You’ll be a free agent this summer for the first time. What will help determine Pat's approach in free agency?
Beverley: I feel like I can play with any team. Whatever team that is, I feel like I can make an instant impact. It’s all about doing the right things. Building a new culture. Whether it’s a young team that I’m with and I have to build a new culture, or if it’s a team that’s already established and I have to figure out how can I fit in and make this team better, I’m selfless when it comes to that.
NBA.com: Some people have linked you to Dallas. And then you sent out that tweet to Luka Doncic. What was that about?
Beverley: I saw him follow me (on social media) earlier. So I’m thinking the same thing. I’m just having fun with it, man. It’s a good time to be a free agent.
@luka7doncic 👀👀👀— Patrick Beverley (@patbev21) May 6, 2019
NBA.com: Could you see yourself having fun playing alongside a player like Luka?
Beverley: Of course. He’s ball dominant, makes the right plays. If that does come, it would be me, Luka, Tim Hardaway Jr., (Kristaps) Porzingis, Courtney Lee. It’s tough when you actually think about it. But I’m going to have fun with free agency man. I work hard. I’m gonna enjoy this process.
NBA.com: If you were to change teams, you’re bound to make an impact on the culture as you stated. You were a part of the rise of the Rockets and now these reinvigorated Clippers. What goes into changing the culture?
Beverley: I go out there and be me. I call a spade a spade. If you’re doing things the wrong way, I’m going to let you know regardless if you’re the max-contract guy on the team or the two-way guy on the team. I’m gonna keep it real consistent. I’m real black and white, not a lot of grey with me. You gone get all of it.
I felt like that game I locked him up. And I did.
NBA.com: You had sort of a “black and white” exchange with your opponent Paul George this season. You told him “I locked you up.” Can you talk about that situation and locking star players up?
Beverley: I just locked him up that game. I was fortunate they came off a back-to-back. I look at all that. I don’t think he thought that (the Clippers’ coaching staff) was gonna put me on him. Kind of threw him off guard. I won that battle that night. I won that battle. Fortunate for me, it was the last time we played them in the season, so I know he’s gone come out next year ready. But yeah, I felt like that game I locked him up. And I did.
@Yg_Trece never knew u for the excuse type. Give credit if credit is due. I locked u up last night. I won the Battle last night. Plain and simple.— Patrick Beverley (@patbev21) March 9, 2019
NBA.com: Speaking of Paul George, he called that epic shot by Damian Lillard a bad shot. Lillard called it bad defense. Where do you stand?
Beverley: Man, Dame’s been shooting them shots since he’s been in the NBA. And all the shots Paul George shoots are tough shots anyways, so it’s funny that he argues about bad shots when he makes all the toughest shots that players can’t make. Him and KD.
NBA.com: You were on that Rockets team when Lillard hit that other series-ending buzzer-beater a few years ago. When you saw the one he made against OKC were you like, “wow, Déjà vu”?
Beverley: That’s the same thing I said. (I remember being) on the court, watching the ball go through the net.
NBA.com: It’s a lot of up-and-coming players in the league. You played with two nice rookies in Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Landry Shamet. What other young player should people look out for?
Beverley: Jerome Robinson. We drafted him right after Shai. He played in the playoffs and he played well. I think he’s got a chance to become a point guard.
NBA.com: Were there any young players you guarded in games and thought “man, he might be a problem in the future?"
Beverley: Trae Young. I say Trae Young and Luka. They’re both tough.
NBA.com: What is something you wished the common fan understood more about basketball?
Beverley: The IQ of it. People see all the dunks, all the 3s and all of that. And in people’s eyes, if you’re not LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry or the unicorns, or the superstars on your team, they think every other NBA player is not talented, and that’s the biggest myth in the world. It takes role players to allow the Kevin Durants and superstars to be them. Take Draymond Green (for example). You take him off Golden State, does the ball move? It might. Do they win? They might. We don’t know, but with Draymond Green on that team, he brings a toughness. You have to respect it. A lot of fans don’t really see that and how big the role players are in the NBA.
NBA.com: I’m an Atlanta guy, and I’ve always enjoyed watching Atlanta native Lou Williams. I think he’s one of the most underrated players in the league.
Beverley: Yeah, Lou’s like a brother to me. He puts in the work. He kills on the court. I feel like he should be getting so much more credit. I feel like he should be in the All-Star game, especially these past couple years.
NBA.com: You two seemed to have developed a great bond. Has he been your favorite teammate so far in the NBA?
Beverley: Favorite teammate ever. Ever. Favorite teammate ever. When I came to Atlanta, he was the first person I got up with. We talk about everything, family. He’s like my brother. We’ve spent a lot of time together with the Rockets and Clippers. That’s gonna be a big point this offseason. If I do choose to leave (the Clippers), I’d be leaving him, my brother Lou Will. And that would be tough on me.
NBA.com: What do you listen to in the pregame to get you ready?
Beverley: Future. Lil Durk. Meek.
NBA.com: What’s the next big step for you in your own personal growth as a player?
Beverley: Get more comfortable running a team. Working on the midrange and working on my handle a little bit more. Continue do what I do. Be me.