Patrick Beverley, Darvin Ham stoke Lakers’ competitive fire

Patrick Beverley, the pay guard acquired by the Lakers in August, cut through the purple team’s defense late Saturday morning at a recreation center on the Pechanga Reservation. Before the ball could clear the net, Beverley turned his eyes to the opposing bench and quickly yelled something at LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook.

Old habits, it turns out, die hard.

But when James’ purple team ended a scrimmage in front of about 200 reservation residents with a win, he found Beverley’s team and quickly celebrated — a swap that captured a big part of what the Lakers aspire to be this season.

“We’re going to be competitive,” Davis said.

In many ways, it’s the least that should be asked of a professional basketball team. In reality, the NBA season can lead to a dominance of big picture thinking, with last year’s Lakers always pointing to a future date when they would be healthy and ready for the role. Of course, that date never came.

It’s also a by-product of who’s on the team — these aren’t just stars, they’re Hall of Famers — James, Davis and Westbrook were honored among 75 of the greatest NBA players of all time last season. With stars like this in the roster, teams can sometimes count on getting into the season.

But coach Darvin Ham doesn’t want the Lakers to slack off on anything.

His practices are structured and stationed, with an emphasis on efficiency that requires maximum attention and energy in short time windows.

“There is no reason to relax when you are efficient with your time, which is what we do in practice. We keep everything to a tight schedule and are constantly moving from one thing to the next. … It holds energy there just to listen, get on, get away from, get on to the next thing, listen, get on, get off, get on to the next thing, so it’s like a buzzing situation going into the how how we present things and how efficient we are with our time.”

When practice structure helps, Beverley adds another spark — another unrelenting buzz that almost always elicits a response.

“This is Pat. This is Pat,” Davis said, laughing. “But I mean, that’s that competitive spirit that he brings to our team. Now that he’s doing this, we’re like, ‘What?!’ So now let’s come in and try it [respond.] Well, it started because Bron was submerged [Jay] Huff early so Pat wanted to get her team going. But that’s the fun we have and the competitive spirit.”

Sorta opening night

Ham said he hasn’t made any final decisions about who will play when this preseason, but the hope is to have Westbrook, Davis and James on the court when the team finalizes its preseason plan against the Sacramento in Los Angeles on Monday King’s opened.

James and Davis have said they hope to be more involved in preseason this year.


The Lakers are hoping to have Dennis Schroder join the team by this week. He still deals with visa-related matters. … Lonnie Walker IV has been cleared for full contact while Troy Brown Jr. is still grappling with a back injury. … During open scrimmage, center Damian Jones attempted a corner three-point shot, and it sounds like the possible starter will get the green light. “The way he’s been shooting the ball since we’ve been training and doing various target practice, he’s capable of making that shot – more than capable,” Ham said. “I know, no disrespect, Robin, but if I let Robin Lopez do a threesome, I’m sure I can.” [get] Damian Jones to make a three-pointer.” … The team has a day off on Sunday. Patrick Beverley, Darvin Ham stoke Lakers’ competitive fire

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