The Clippers, amid the myriad of other moves they accomplished this summer, re-signed starting point guard Patrick Beverley. For much of the run up to free agency, signs seemed to be pointing towards Pat “enjoying his free agency” and exploring the open market, but both sides quickly agreed to a mutually beneficial 3 year, $40 million deal. Here are the grades that our staff gave this deal.
Michelle Uzeta: A
Re-signing Patrick Beverley was, to me, the single most important task the Clippers had this off-season (second only to securing Kawhi Leonard). I wrote about Pat a lot this past year and took a bit of heat from readers for my opinion that he was the Clippers’ “most valuable player.” I still stand by that opinion, and am pleased as punch that the Clippers were able to secure him during a free agency in which he enjoyed interest from many suitors.
Beverley’s strong suits are his leadership, mentoring, and ability to impact the game without even setting a foot on the floor. He is most definitely THAT guy — the mouth, the spark plug, the agitator, the tone setter. The guy everyone loves to hate ... unless he’s on your squad. In addition to these intangibles (I refuse to use the word “unstatable” as a matter of principal), Beverley is a solid role player, with a legendary defensive skill set and underrated offense. Beverley finished the 2018-19 regular season with 2.0 defensive win shares, a career-high .6 blocks per game, and stellar individual game performances against LeBron James in the regular season and Kevin Durant early on in the Clippers-Warriors playoff series. Pat’s rebounding was also a pleasant surprise — the 6’1 point guard pulled down 10+ rebounds in eight games during the regular season, and three in the post season. Offensively, the Chi-Town native under-produces around the rim (49% in the 0-3 feet range in 2018-19) but he has improved his three-point shooting percentage to 39.5 percent over the last four seasons. In a long-ball focused league, this is definitely a strong positive. Additionally, although he averaged just under four assists per game last season, Beverley is an excellent ball handler with a low turnover rate and does have the instincts and skills to facilitate offense. All in all, I could not be happier to have Mr. 94 Feet back in LA, and cannot wait to see who he irritates to the point of ejection this coming season.
Shapan Debnath: A
He’s the heart of this team. I really don’t have much to say. Initially I thought maybe the years didn’t fall exactly right for the Clippers to have flexibility in the summer of 2021, but whatever. I really thought Pat was gone and I’m so excited he’s not only back, but back with this team.
Thomas Wood: B
The only people who don’t love Patrick Beverley are those being guarded by Patrick Beverley. And I’d bet my next site paycheck that they at least respect the snot outta him. (Fine, I don’t receive site paychecks.)
Retaining Pat was a priority even before the Clippers acquired Kawhi and PG. The front office’s decision looks even wiser after. He’s such a snug fit with the two stars I might gift them all to my grandmother this Christmas. And that’s to say nothing of his influence on team culture. It will be the stuff of Clippers lore. DJ Dense will spin songs about him.
There are concerns, his age and availability ranking chiefly among them. (He’s eclipsed 70 games played in a season just twice. His 78 appearances this year were a career high by nearly a tenth.) The money on the deal is surprising too. If he’s healthy and ages gracefully into his mid-30s he’ll earn it, but the downside is there.
The grade is from my head but my heart just doesn’t care. Thank goodness Steve Ballmer and company paid him.
Max Jeffrey: A+
Heading into the offseason, it seemed like a foregone conclusion that Patrick Beverley would end up on another team’s roster. During last season’s gritty, must-watch version of Clippers basketball, Beverley was the heart and soul of the team. His defensive intensity, his efficiency, his selflessness, and his net impact on the floor made him a very desirable free agent in a wide-open market. The Clippers’ front office clearly wanted him back, his teammates surely wanted him back, and fans really wanted him back. With the Clippers in full Kawhi-chase mode, retaining Beverley at market value, as cap space began to dwindle around the league, seemed improbable.
Beverley received higher offers elsewhere, but he chose to stay with the Clippers for what was a very mutually enticing contract. And they were able to do it while bringing back most of their other core players from last season, all while adding Paul George and Kawhi Leonard. Pairing Beverley’s exceptional defensive savvy with that of George and Leonard will be a nightmare for opposing offenses. Beverley quickly became a fan favorite over the last two years, and has drawn unanimous respect and acclaim for his skillset across the entire NBA. Bringing Beverley back, regardless of whatever else happened this offseason, would always be a huge win. He will remain a very important part of what is now, without a doubt, the greatest team the Clippers have ever assembled. Expect Beverley to continue to provide must-watch television every night with his defensive prowess and his infectiously-boisterous spirit.
Robert Flom: A-
Objectively, the Clippers probably overpaid a little for Patrick Beverley. 3 year, $40 million is a lot for a 31 year old point guard who’s never been an All Star and has played over 70 games just twice in a seven year NBA career. However, most of his offers were in that range or a little higher, so in the terms of the market, this deal was about right. That doesn’t mean it will necessarily look great in two years, but it does mean it’s not an albatross — and for what the Clippers need on the court and in the locker room, Pat is a perfect fit.
For all the talk of his toughness, leadership, and grit, Pat’s actual basketball abilities are frequently underrated. He’s an excellent catch-and-shoot three-point shooter (ideal for a team that has two ball-dominant superstars), a solid playmaker, and a sure-handed ballhandler who doesn’t give away the rock. Defense aside, Pat has started most of his NBA career because he’s a very good basketball player who consistently makes the teams he’s on better. And his defense, while maybe not where it was a few years ago, remains excellent. On-ball defense and pestering is overrated, and while Pat can do that, it’s in terms of help and team defense where he shines. He’s always communicating, directing teammates, and making correct reads. Simply, he’s going to play a huge role in the fortune of this team, even with Kawhi Leonard and Paul George on board.
Pat is a match made in heaven with the Clippers’ new roster and their rebuilt identity/brand, and it’s incredible that the Clippers were able to retain him this summer. He will be well worth it.