EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — Patrick Beverley was still sweating from a practice session at the Los Angeles Lakers practice facility when Russell Westbrook provided an assist.
Westbrook interrupted Beverley’s opening press conference with reporters to throw him in the towel and make sure his new backcourt teammate was looking good.
“I love that brother,” said an appreciative Beverley. “First cent of the year.”
Putting aside any rivalry with Beverley, Westbrook was the only Lakers player to attend Beverley’s first official appearance with the team. While it remains to be seen how this point guard pairing alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis might work, Westbrook and Beverley set the tone on Tuesday that they’re ready to team up and embraced after Beverley finished talking.
“Super excited,” Beverley interrupted when asked about his relationship and fit with Westbrook. “… I was asked this question two or three years ago, [about] someone I’ve always wanted to play with and [Westbrook] was the first name. I have [known] Bron, since I was a baby, a rookie in this league so obviously I want to play with him.
“But a player with that competitive spirit, that fire, that will, that dog, that malice, that grit to have a running mate like that, I’ve never had that. So I’m super excited to see where it goes. Obviously, like any relationship or marriage, we’re going to have tough conversations. It’s part of winning, but I look forward to these conversations, I look forward to the practices. I’m just excited to be able to compete with someone like that.”
Westbrook and Beverly are used to competing against each other, and it became controversial at times. During Game 2 of the Oklahoma City Thunder playoff series against the Houston Rockets in 2013, Beverley collided with Westbrook’s knee while attempting a steal. Westbrook required surgery to repair a lateral meniscus tear in his right knee.
Nearly a decade later, the two are teammates and shared a laugh after Westbrook’s towel transitioned to Beverly. New Lakers coach Darvin Ham said he won’t be afraid to start both point guards together if it helps improve the team.
“When they play defense,” Ham said. “We still have a while. There’s still a long way to go, but definitely. People often get caught up in the starting lineups, but you look at who finishes the games. These starters are out there to set the tone for the entire team throughout the game.”
“But I’m not afraid of that,” Ham added. “There’s definitely a bullet in the chamber. We’re looking forward to it, man, those guys in the back together, man.”
Beverley described the fit with Westbrook as “perfect”.
“I’m shooting a ton out the right wing,” said Beverley, who joined the Lakers from Utah for Talen Horton-Tucker and Stanley Johnson. “He posts out on the left wing [timeouts]He likes to post on the right wing. I shoot 50% from the left corner 3. It works. Having another ball handler next to me, LeBron of course, the more ball handlers the better you are as a team.”
Beverley spent four seasons with the LA Clippers before being traded to Minnesota prior to last season. The veteran – who was surprised to be traded by the Timberwolves after a playoff appearance this offseason – acknowledges how different it is in Los Angeles to be a Laker now. But Beverley knows the only thing that matters is getting the Lakers back into the playoffs.
And he hopes to show an unrelenting will each day to get the Lakers all on the same page after last season’s chaotic disappointment.
“I just feel like they didn’t make the playoffs last year,” Beverley said when asked about joining a team with 17 championship banners. “We’re being honest that’s just the truth so you can see all the banners but you know what have you been doing for me lately? And lately [the Lakers] wasn’t a good team. And I’m here. Obviously Coach Ham is here.
“The polarizing numbers out here, what’s the reason, how do we get there, how do we win, what do we do? What do we sacrifice? What do we give up? Everyone wants to go to the bank and withdraw, but you also have to give something to to be a successful team. So what are you going to give up? And that’s my thing and I’m going to do that.”
And Beverly is looking forward to starring alongside James. Beverley has previously spoken about how much he wished he could be on James’ team.
“Who does not?” said Beverly. “You’re talking about GOAT status, not just him, you’re talking about GOAT status as a whole.
“We’re a matchup problem, we’re a matchup problem for everyone. In order for us to be a matchup problem, we have to make the playoffs, and playoffs are matchups, and we’re a matchup problem for everyone. across the board, and we know that. And our business is only coming to the playoffs, and we’re coming to the playoffs, the boys, all this polarizing figure, now you guys are getting us where we need to be, that’s the mindset.
https://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/34537503/new-los-angeles-lakers-guard-patrick-beverley-super-excited-play-alongside-russell-westbrook New Los Angeles Lakers guard Patrick Beverley ‘super excited’ to play alongside Russell Westbrook