While the Los Angeles Lakers recent loss to the Brooklyn Nets did not feature LeBron James, Anthony Davis or Kevin Durant battling under the spotlight, Kyrie Irving and Patrick Beverley capitalized on the chance to showcase the competitive nature between the two point guards.
Even though Irving achieved a team-high 26-points in the 121-104 victory over L.A., the seven-time NBA All-Star could not find a rhythm when matched up against Beverley. The three-time All-NBA Defensive player limited Irving to just 2-for-7 shooting when guarding him.
In an interview with Kristian Winfield of the New York Daily News, Irving shared that Beverley is typically one of his toughest matches with trash-talking and a different level of competitiveness usually involved:
“Some other guys would probably use that word [irritating], but for me, [when it comes to] Patrick, I enjoy the competitive spirit that he brings out of me and he brings out of other people,” Irving said after the game. “If you can get by him, if you can score on him, then I feel like you can score on the majority of people in the league. That’s the respect I have for him.”
The high regard from one of the league’s greatest scorers reinforces how important of a defensive asset Beverley is on any unit. Despite his small 6-foot, 1-inch frame, the Lakers guard makes up for his size with his lateral quickness, tenacity and trash-talking that gets in the head of even the best in the NBA.
When responding to the high praise from Irving, Beverley reciprocated how fun the challenge of guarding a superstar in Irving is:
“Obviously wise words from a wise man,” Beverley said to the Daily News of Irving’s comments. “[He’s] the ultimate competitor. Master of his craft. The master at that position to ever play. It wasn’t easy tonight, but it’s always been like that. I make sure I get my rest the night before I play Kyrie for sure.”
Elite one-on-one basketball is box office to NBA fans, but moments when veterans like Irving and Beverley get to battle and compete at a high level are always fun to watch.
The Lakers faithful could only imagine what a backcourt of Irving and Beverley could look like in the purple and gold had Irving joined L.A in the offseason. Those images are now re-appearing now that Irving has requested a trade and the Lakers are interested.
Lakers looking to upgrade from Beverley at trade deadline?
The Lakers recently made a trade to acquire former Washington Wizards forward Rui Hachimura to bolster their frontcourt. However, the possibility of continuing to improve the roster is not off the table just yet.
It is no secret that the Lakers have limited trade assets, however, it was recently reported that L.A. may include Beverley in a trade package to upgrade in the backcourt.
Beverley, who is on a $13 million expiring contract, looks to be a prime piece for the Lakers to move if they find an upgrade. Despite the rumors though, the guard has increased his level of play in recent weeks which could lead to him sticking around beyond the deadline.
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!