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 scored just eight points on three shot attempts 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 to coming 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. He’ll give me a car to drive if I’m in his town for a week. 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.
— 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.