It has been four games since Patrick Beverley returned to from injury, and to the surprise of nobody, the Clippers are 4-0 in those contests. On the surface, the sentiment exists to chalk up Bev’s impact to simply the return of the energy the Clippers had been missing. He dives on the floor, grabs hustle boards, pokes balls away, and gets the crowd hyped. All of those plays transcend what is seen in the box score, but too many people stop right there when it comes to Pat.
If all Beverley did was simply bring intensity, the record discrepancy of when he plays vs. when he doesn’t play would not be as glaring as it is. Since last season, the Clippers are 82-40 when Pat Bev plays, and just 7-13 when he does not. Those are numbers reflective of a good basketball player, not just a pest.
Oftentimes, the narrative surrounding high energy players like Pat Bev is that they are “unstatable.” This means that what they bring to the game cannot be measured with numbers. Certain players do bring unstatable intangibles, and Patrick Beverley is one of them; however, to confine Pat Bev to simply the category of unstatable would be a major injustice to his game.
It has been well documented that the Clippers are substantially better with Pat Bev on the floor, but that reality transcends even the record discrepancy. With Patrick Beverly on the floor this season, the Clippers boast a +8.6 NRTG and are outscoring opponents by 216 points over 1,209 minutes. When he has not been on the floor, the Clippers have dropped off significantly. The NRTG when Bev is off the floor falls from +8.6 to +4.1, and the scoring differential drops from +216 to +156 across those 1,686 minutes. These numbers are neither coincidental nor a product of energy alone. Patrick Beverley is an incredible player who impacts winning, and he does it on both sides of the ball.
Let’s start with with his defense, his most covered basketball ability. Defensively, Bev is simply one of the best. The idea that he “just runs around doing nothing” is not only ridiculous, but it is factually and statistically incorrect. Patrick Beverley is one of the best defenders at his position, and the numbers jump off the page.
His impact on the Clippers’ defense alone is a good starting point for grasping how impactful he is on that end of the ball. When Bev has been on the floor this season, the Clippers have a 104.9 DRTG, which inflates to 106.3 when he has been off. Perhaps the biggest impact Bev’s defense has on the Clippers is what he is able to do alongside Kawhi Leonard. Kawhi this season has a 106.1 DRTG in his 691 minutes without Pat Bev. That number drops to a stifling 102.5 mark in the 829 minutes Kawhi has played next to Pat Bev.
There are a few different reasons for the improved defense that Kawhi enjoys in his minutes with Bev. The first is simple, and it is that the more quality defenders there are on the floor, the better the defense will be. DRTG is a team effort, and the more weight that is pulled by the entirety of the group, the stronger the numbers will be. There is a more technical reason behind these numbers, and they come with Patrick Beverley’s ability to guard the opponent’s best player.
Kawhi is the Clippers’ best defender, but if he doesn’t have to guard the opponent’s best scorer each time down, it allows his effectiveness to grow in every aspect of the game. This is what Pat Bev provides, and especially when it comes to defending the league’s best guards.
The top-5 scoring guards in the Western Conference are James Harden, Damian Lillard, Luka Doncic, Russell Westbrook, and Devin Booker. Patrick Beverley has guarded these five on 115 possessions this season, and allowed just 40 points on 26.7% shooting. Pretty good for a guy who just runs around and does nothing. Pat Bev is one of the league’s best defenders at the guard position, and his ability to defend the NBA’s most prolific scorers adds to his greatness and the Clippers’ success.
Patrick Beverley’s defense is well covered and well respected. While the magnitude of his ability on that end is not heralded the way it should be, his accolades speak for themselves. Beverley has made two All-Defensive teams in his career, including a First Team selection in 2017. These awards allow Bev to get recognition for his defensive prowess from all of those who are not hellbent on hating.
The part of Bev’s game that does not require blind hate to overlook is his offense. The talent and ability he possesses on that side of the ball does not get nearly enough coverage. The Clippers do not hold a .672 winning percentage when Bev plays and a .350 winning percentage when he doesn’t the last two years because he is simply a pest. Furthermore, as good of a defender as Bev is, the difference in wins is also not exclusively a product of his defense. Patrick Beverly is the Clippers’ point guard, and he is an extremely good one.
The “Clippers need a real point guard” takes have to stop. Patrick Beverley is one of the most underrated floor generals in the entire league, and the stats reflect that. Bev’s 3.00 AST/TO ratio is 3rd among starting point guards, trailing just CP3’s 3.20 mark and Ricky Rubio’s 3.21 mark for the top spot in that category.
This efficiency with the ball is not a new trend for Pat Bev, as this is something he has long been proficient in. Last season, his AST/TO ratio was 3.53, which ranked 2nd amongst all starting point guards, only trailing Darren Collison’s 3.67 mark.
The idea that Bev lacks offensive ability is only held by people who don’t watch him, don’t know how to find stats, or simply choose to ignore both. While his facilitating ability is undeniable, it is far from his only offensive ability. Patrick Beverley can shoot.
Coming into this season, Pat Bev had shot 40% or better from distance in three of his last four seasons. The only outlier was a 38% clip in the 2016-17 campaign, and that was on par with his career average. Since coming to the Clippers, Pat is shooting the three at exactly 39%. This season started slow for Bev, but he is heating up at the right time. Since December 1st, Bev is shooting 44.8% from beyond the arc, and has been absolutely incredible.
Pat said before the season began that he knew the opposition would sag off of him due to the firepower in the Clippers’ offense. He clearly takes pride in making the defense pay for such a strategy, and he has done so to this point in the season. Bev’s prediction came true, as defenses have left him alone this season, resulting in his taking the 2nd most wide open threes on the team. Pat has taken 106 threes categorized as wide open and is knocking them down at 41.5% clip. Only Landry Shamet has taken and made more.
With much of the Clippers’ offense running through Kawhi and PG, Bev is the recipient of a lot of catch and shoot opportunities. Pat is 3rd on the team in catch and shoot 3PA, at 3.6 per game. Only Landry and PG attempt more per game, but once again it is the makes that matter most, and Bev has knocked down his catch and shoot threes at a 39.2% clip.
Bev’s facilitation and three point proficiency are two skills that go unnoticed by too many, but their impact is not lost on the team’s ratings. With Pat Bev on the floor this season, the Clippers have a 113.5 ORTG that drops to 110.3 without him. As previously mentioned, much of Bev’s offensive skillset directly compliments Kawhi’s play style and ability. When Kawhi has played with Bev this season, the duo has a 116.7 ORTG in 829 minutes together. In the 691 minutes Kawhi has played without Bev, his ORTG drops to 111.2. The combination of Bev’s offense and defense has done wonders even for a player of Kawhi’s caliber. That duo has a +14.3 NRTG together, and when Kawhi has played without Bev, it drops to +5.0. Kawhi is ridiculous, so the numbers will be off the charts regardless, but it is undeniable that Patrick Beverly’s offensive ability makes even the best better.
Bev’s defense, playmaking, and shooting are all undeniably elite. The final area of his game that warrants recognition is his rebounding. Patrick Beverley is averaging 5.6 REB per game, which is first in the league for all players 6’2″ or shorter. Simply among point guards, Bev’s rebounding ranks 5th behind Russ, Simmons, Luka, and Lonzo. It isn’t just on the defensive side that Bev pulls the boards down, because his 1.2 OREB per game ranks 4th among all point guards and once again 1st among players 6’2″ or shorter.
It is initially understandable why so many people think Patrick Beverley is merely a defensive pest who found his way into a good situation. The sentiment for that to be the case is undoubtedly there, but it just isn’t true. A player does not leave college, move overseas, buy himself out of his contract, return to the NBA, and become one of the most impactful players on a contending team simply with energy and heart. It takes both of those things, but if they aren’t coupled with real basketball ability, it just won’t work.
Patrick Beverley is the heart and soul of the Clippers, but don’t stop there when discussing him. A player can’t become the heart and soul of a championship caliber team simply with energy. For Bev, that’s just where it starts. His energy and intensity sets the tone for the Clippers, but it is his incredible basketball ability that keeps them going.
Patrick Beverley is an amazing basketball player. Let’s start talking about him that way.