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2019-20 Clippers Report Card: Patrick Beverley

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Beverley is very important to the Clippers, but his availability as he ages is a concern.

Denver Nuggets v Los Angeles Clippers - Game Seven Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images

Key Information:

Name: Patrick Beverley

Age: 32

Years in the NBA: 8 years

Key stats: Beverley averaged 7.9 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 3.5 assists in 26.3 minutes per game during the regular season. He also shot 38.8% from 3-point range.

Future contract status: He is entering the second year of a three-year, $40 million contract he signed with the Clippers in the 2019 offseason.

Summary:

Beverley came into this season as the entrenched starting point guard for the first time in his Clippers tenure, fresh off of signing the first big contract of his NBA career. Other than Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, Beverley was the most important player on the 2019-20 roster, partly because he was the lone point guard, but also because of his particular set of skills that make him an ideal fit next to superstars.

Beverley was the heart and soul of the Clippers in 2018-19, the fire to Lou Williams’ ice. He was still an emotional leader for the Clippers this past season, but in a less prominent role due to the presence of the two stars.

His playmaking grew this past year, and Doc Rivers even shared his play sheet with Beverley, an honor he previously only bestowed upon Rajon Rondo and Chris Paul.

The injury bug caught up with Beverley, as it did with most of the other Clippers this seasons, and he never played more than 13 consecutive games. He missed at least three games in a row five times over the course of the season, and it became clear in that final stretch during the playoffs that the Clippers were ill-equipped to withstand his absence.

Strengths:

Patrick Beverley is a 3-and-D player who happens to be 6’0 tall instead of the usual wing size. The Clippers certainly wouldn’t object to a wing-sized Beverley, but even so, Beverley was great next to Kawhi Leonard and Paul George as a floor spacer who could also handle the ball on a secondary action. He was particularly deadly from the left side of the floor, shooting 43.7% from the left corner and left wing. He’s also good at straight-line drives when the defense is tilted, and flying in for offensive rebounds to extend LA’s possessions.

Beverley had the fourth-highest offensive rating on the Clippers (114.2 points per 100 possessions) during the regular season behind Marcus Morris Sr., Leonard, and George. The Clippers outscored opponents by 10.2 points per 100 possessions with Beverley on the floor, the third-best net rating after Morris and Leonard.

The value extended to both sides of the floor for Beverley. He is stout defender who allows for switching while also being able to stay in front of his man, which gave the Clippers a great deal of lineup flexibility. Beverley is a pest to opposing ball handlers, as he’s willing to pick them up for the full 94 feet (there’s a reason he has the nickname!). He can similarly deter wings by getting into their bodies and throwing them off balance. He had the best defensive rating of any Clipper in the rotation (104.0), and he earned a second-team all-Defense honor as a result.

During the postseason, Beverley’s defense held up despite having to face Jamal Murray and a Denver team that scored almost at will. He once again had the best defensive rating of any Clipper (99.4), but that was potentially deflated by not having to play more games against Luka Doncic and the Mavericks.

Weaknesses:

Even though he is listed as the starting point guard and he was entrusted with Rivers’ playbook, Beverley isn’t a natural distributor. He doesn’t see the floor like a point guard and he can’t manipulate the defense. He can make the first read but nothing more advanced than that.

During the regular season, it was fine that Leonard and Lou Williams (and occasionally Reggie Jackson) carried the ball-handling load. But Williams can be negated with a good game plan during the postseason, and it was too much to ask Leonard to run the offense and guard the best player on defense. Rivers’ primary grievance with the team’s roster construction was that the Clippers lacked a primary playmaker. The point guard normally fills that role, but Beverly doesn’t.

Beverley is also a bit too aggressive on defense. He is tenacious, yes, and part of his appeal is that he mixes it up with the other team. But that results in a lot of fouls. Beverley committed defensive fouls on 4.7% of LA’s possessions, which landed him in the bottom 10 percent of point guards, per Cleaning the Glass. Beverley’s worst impulses came home to roost in Game 6 of the second round against Denver, when he fouled out in 17 minutes.

The other weakness of Beverley’s that surfaced at the most inopportune time was his availability, or lack thereof. Beverley missed 21 regular-season games, including the final five seeding games in the bubble, when the Clippers really could have used the opportunity to develop some continuity. He also missed five first-round games in the playoffs, another missed chance for the Clippers to get on the same page, particularly on the defensive end. The Clippers were already a team that didn’t practice much, so they needed games to grow together, and Beverley wasn’t available. Other than last season, when Beverley played all but four of the 82 regular-season games, this has been a common theme of his NBA career.

Future with the Clippers:

It would seem that the third-most important player on the Clippers, or at least third-most irreplaceable, would be safe moving forward. But the Clippers probably need a real point guard, and there have been reports that rival teams expect the Clippers to address that position. L.A. doesn’t have draft assets to trade for a point guard or meaningful cap space to sign one. That means a deal would require trading players on the existing roster, and Beverley’s salary is a good place to start, not to mention the fact that his skill set would become a little redundant if the Clippers acquired a point guard who could play 30-plus minutes per game.

Beverley is still under contract for this season and one more after that. It is more likely that he stays in Los Angeles than that he gets moved. He fills an important role on this team both with his play and his energy. Most of the issues with Beverley stem from the fact that he misses too much time on the court, not that he can’t contribute when he’s on it. He deserves to be part of the Clippers’ future.

Overall grade: B

Beverley was an above-average starting point guard whose grade is brought down ever so slightly because he missed too many games in the bubble.