BEVERLEY’S TOUGHEST MATCHUP “Dame is one of the reasons why I went into the weight room.”

BEVERLEY’S TOUGHEST MATCHUP “Dame is one of the reasons why I went into the weight room.”

It took Patrick Beverley three and a half years before he was finally given the opportunity of playing in the NBA. After bouncing around overseas, playing in Ukraine, Greece, and Russia, Beverley was signed by the Houston Rockets in ’12, making his lifelong dream a reality.

Nine years into his NBA career, Beverley has already earned a total of $38 million. He’s currently under the contract with the Clippers, as he’s set to receive $27 million more as a part of his three-year extension signed in ’19. It’s safe to say Beverley is making the most out of his NBA campaign, and he’s doing it by being one of the league’s best perimeter defenders. It’s his forte, and he’s sure cashing out on it.

Pestering opposing team’s best player, accompanied by intransigent trash-talk, became a trademark of Beverley’s. No matter the shape or size he’s facing, the approach is always the same – heart over height. What he lacks in inches, Beverley more than makes-up for in restlessness, fight, and tenacity. It’s the ultimate proof that playing defense is all about who wants it more. And trust me, no one wants it more than Pat.

Over the years, the two-time All-Defensive Team selection showed he could slow down pretty much anyone in the league, regardless of their position or play style. Just remember his game-saving strip on LeBron on Christmas day. It was just a drop in the ocean of huge defensive plays made by the Clippers’ guard, but it painted the perfect picture of Beverley as the defender.

Every player that was ever guarded by Pat will probably tell you the same – he is the NBA’s biggest pest. He’s also without the doubt one of the league’s premier perimeter defenders. His defensive resume and the eye test testify to it. But who was his toughest matchup? Who did Beverley had the toughest time containing?

“I say, Dame. I give it to him. Dame is one of the reasons why I went into the weight room. I told my guys, ‘Hey, I gotta get faster laterally. I don’t feel like I’m fast. I can’t keep up with the speed right now. I don’t know if I need to lose weight. I don’t know if I need to get stronger. I don’t know if I need to hire a new f—ing team. But I need to get f—ing faster.’”

Patrick Beverly, The JJ Redick Podcast

It’s Lillard’s play style that gives Beverley troubles. It directly correlates with the system he’s playing in, which allows him to do whatever he wants on the floor. Dame’s got that Curry-like approach of pulling up from wherever, and that’s what makes him so unpredictable. It’s the reason he thrives as a player, and according to Pat, it’s what makes him so tough to guard.

“Those half-court shots are like — for me, that’s layups and corner shots — half-court shots for him, though. The dynamic is very different when you’re going out there preparing for a player like that. Way different.”

Patrick Beverly, The JJ Redick Podcast

Nevertheless, when the two match up against each other, Dame doesn’t play to his standards. In fact, in 22 of their matchups, Lillard is averaging 22.1 points while shooting .414 from the field; both below his career averages. You can be sure Pat’s got something to do with it. You know he was in Dame’s face for each possession in those 22 games.

Although it’s obvious Beverley is able to slow Lillard down, he still is Pat’s toughest matchup in the NBA. And that’s saying a lot, coming from the guy who guarded every single one of NBA’s finest. It’s not LeBron, it’s not KD, it’s not Harden. It’s the 6-2 point guard who plays for Portland. I bet he wouldn’t be your first choice.