The Los Angeles Lakers’ goal for the summer was to revitalize the lethargic defense that cost them dearly last season — and only a few players would be better suited for the job than Patrick Beverley.
Lakers players kept asking each other to play with more effort on the defensive side of the ball after garnering loss after loss in 2021-22. Still, L.A. finished the campaign with the bottom-10 defense — only a year after boasting the best defensive rating in the NBA.
During Media Day, Beverley agreed with the prevailing opinion that the Purple and Gold didn’t just lack defensive skills but also the desire to do the dirty work. Asked to point out L.A.’s biggest issue last season, the 34-year-old playmaker said: “The will factor. Are they willing to get back on defense? Are they willing to do the small things?”
Beverley then said he didn’t think the Lakers collectively had the right attitude to build an elite defense.
“I don’t know if they had the will factor,” Beverley said. “I don’t know if they wanted to make the extra rotation. I don’t know if they wanted to, you know, get on the floor, get dirty, scrape your knees for a loose ball.”
Beverley has earned the reputation of an elite defender thanks to his hustle and hard work. The veteran guard said he is arriving in L.A. with the same mindset, hoping it will inspire his new teammates to put in the extra effort this year.
“As a leader, going into a team like that — if they didn’t do it, then I’ll do it and, hopefully, people will pick up from there,” he said. “That’s all I care [about], I try to lead by action.”
Since his move to the Lakers became official, Beverley has been saying all the right things — at least in regards to what head coach Darvin Ham expects from his team — as well as from his new guard himself.
Ham previously mentioned Beverley’s attitude as the main factor in the Lakers’ decision to trade for the guard. The head coach also said he wants Beverley to be L.A.’s “tone-setter,” particularly on defense, which is precisely what the veteran promised to do on Media Day.
Beverley jokes he likes being with Lakers ‘a little better’ than with Clippers
Besides his vision for the kind of role he wants to play on the Lakers, Beverley likely gained new fans in Laker Land with comments on his past with the L.A. Clippers.
“I know how it feels to be a Laker and a Clipper. I’ve been on both sides and I like it over here a little bit better,” Beverley said, speaking of his reactions to his L.A. return.
Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in live shows, and more!