When the Los Angeles Lakers signed Patrick Beverley, he was seen as a staple in the backcourt as a defensive stalwart. His physicality and ball-hawking on that side of the ball would be reminiscent of Avery Bradley and Danny Green in the 2019-20 season.
So far, that hasn’t been the case as Beverley has had to play a different role with the Lakers’ lack of wing depth. He’s usually slotted as the two-guard with an emphasis on the opposing player that brings the ball up the court. At times, it’s worked and at times, it hasn’t.
The same can be said about the Lakers as a whole defensively, who have struggled to be consistent. L.A. has the 22nd-best defensive rating in the league, a stark decline from being top-10 earlier in the year. Beverley shared his thoughts on the Lakers’ defensive struggles, via NBA.com:
“I mean obviously when your anchor is out Anthony Davis, that puts a lot of pressure on your defense. But you know I mean I’ve always been a fan of, I don’t really like to make excuses. I enjoy everyone in the locker room and I feel like we have enough to win on any given night. I don’t know sense of urgency, discipline, mixed with a little IQ, mixed with a little passion and enthusiasm, all that mixed together. At times we do show it. And at glimpses, we don’t and when we don’t we lose.”
This isn’t the first time Beverley has pointed out the impact Davis’ injury has on the defense. After the Lakers’ loss to Dallas on Christmas Day, Beverley said the team has to do a better job collectively to get stops. L.A. has fallen apart defensively since Davis’ absence — four straight teams scored over 120 points leading to four straight losses.
A solid defensive start to the season has seemingly gone out the window in recent weeks. It may be enough to frustrate Beverley, however, he is staying the course:
“No, nothing’s frustrating. [It’s more encouraging], yeah. We put ourselves in positions against really good teams, average teams, even the bad teams. We put ourselves in positions to win games, it’s up to us to go out there and win them. So not negative at all. I feel like it’s a lot of areas that we can improve in, even what we have already and what we’ve done so far.”
The Lakers have another daunting stretch of games in January. With Davis sidelined until at least mid-January, the Purple and Gold must find answers elsewhere. Its defense will have to improve then or L.A.’s playoff hopes will be knocked out of the picture.
Beverley discusses the evolution of his relationship with Russell Westbrook
The relationship between Patrick Beverley and Russell Westbrook is well-documented. For years the two were enemies before becoming teammates this season in L.A.
Beverley spoke on the evolution of the friendship, even sharing that the two share the same strength and conditioning person.
“I could tell him things other people can’t. And that’s the beauty of when you got two guys, who talk two rams,” he said. “If you only got two rams, you could only understand things from the other ram. So I’m able to tell him -expletive- that no one else can relate to him on.”
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