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[Sporting News] Rockets' Patrick Beverley knows he can win Defensive Player of the Year, and why not

Discussion in 'Houston Rockets: Game Action & Roster Moves' started by Deuce, Dec 19, 2016.

  1. Deuce

    Deuce Context & Nuance

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    I didn't see this posted. It could be buried in a thread. But I thought this was a really great article that deserved it's own thread.



    Rockets' Patrick Beverley knows he can win Defensive Player of the Year, and why not

    http://www.sportingnews.com/nba/new...antoni-eric-gordon/1mpu3d9zghgne1pbcgf8f0mmgp

    There are sticky notes on the mirror in Patrick Beverley’s bathroom. Every time he brushes his teeth, shaves, has a glass of water, they’re there. He has written his goals on the notes, things like making the all-defensive team, the percentage he wants to shoot from the 3-point line, what he wants his Rockets to accomplish in the playoffs.

    And there’s this: Defensive Player of the Year. Of course, no guard has won the award in 20 years. Beverley is aiming to change that.

    “That is one of my biggest goals,” Beverley told Sporting News this week. “I feel like I am the best defensive player in the league right now. I hope the whole world sees it. If we win games, more and more people see it. But the last guard to get the Defensive Player of the Year award was Gary Payton. Why not me? I have the same type of killer mindset that he had, the lateral quickness and quick hands. The swagger also. That’s one of my goals, my biggest goal. If I can get a goal like that, I will put my team in a position to win a lot of games.”

    His team has been winning a lot of games, a lot more games than expected after a miserable and divisive 41-win output last year. The Rockets are on an eight-game winning streak during which something remarkable has happened: They’re playing very good defense, limiting opponents to 42.9 percent shooting and 30.3 percent shooting from the 3-point line. They’ve moved up to 17th in the league in defensive efficiency.

    That was not supposed to be the case under new coach Mike D’Antoni, known for his supercharged offense and lackluster defense. The Rockets are, predictably, the second-highest scoring team in the NBA at 112.8 points per game, led by MVP candidate and offensive juggernaut James Harden. But the reason behind their recent surge has been solid defense.

    That starts with Beverley, who has become a big fan of his new coach. “One of the best coaches I’ve ever had—he’s open, we are able to talk,” Beverley said. “He doesn’t look at you like a number, he looks at you like an individual. He’s a good man at heart. He’s been great, he’s been phenomenal."

    He did not always feel that way. Beverley had doubts about D’Antoni when the Rockets hired him. As a defense-first point guard, Beverley was not sure he would have a role on a D’Antoni team, and when the Rockets brought in guard Eric Gordon, it seemed to fit a pattern — every year since the Rockets signed Beverley in 2013, he has had to fend off another guard (from Jeremy Lin to Ty Lawson) for minutes.

    But then D’Antoni reached out to Beverley and told him directly that, no matter what, he would be the starter.

    “I was skeptical at first,” Beverley said. “But then we had conversations after he got hired. The first thing he said to the GM (Daryl Morey) was that he was intrigued with my game. We had conversations up to the season. One thing you want from a coach is to keep it real, and he has been real with me from the beginning. When you have a coach like that, you’re willing to run through a wall for him and that’s how it is now.”

    D’Antoni’s Rockets are reaping the benefits. Beverley’s net efficiency rating is 16.6, the highest among guards, and Houston has gone 13-2 since he returned from a minor preseason knee surgery. Beverley says he is the league’s best defensive player, and there’s some evidence that he’s not far off on that. According to NBA.com stats, he ranks as the best in the league in defending the pick-and-roll, allowing ballhandlers to create just 0.53 points per possession on the play, and is fourth among regular guards when it comes to defending spot-up shooters (0.71 points per possession). And he’s not shy about hitting the floor: Beverley leads the league in loose balls recovered, at 1.8 per game.

    After a disastrous season all around in Houston last year — “I am just glad that sh--’s over,” Beverley said — he sought to recommit himself to being the kind of defensive player he was when he first arrived in the NBA. That meant a summer spent with trainer Jeff Pagliocca in the Chicago suburb of Buffalo Grove, where Beverley, as he described it, “got back to the basics.” He had spent last year trying to bulk up with weights, but this summer, he changed his approach. He ran hills. He did suicide drills. He did 17s (which, as the name implies, is a drill in which you simply run baseline to baseline 17 times). He altered his diet.

    “I think the biggest difference between this and any other year, I am much lighter,” Beverley said.” I weighed myself yesterday and I am 187 pounds, and I think last year I played at 205, 206. I have taken almost 20 pounds off, so I am able to move faster, jump higher, last longer—durability. I am good on back-to-backs, I can bring a lot of energy. My trainer just wanted me to get back to being myself, hang my hat on defense and I have been doing that this year for sure.”

    That’s been a transformation of sorts for Beverley. When he was a prep star in Chicago, facing off against fellow guard Derrick Rose, he was known as a scorer. That was his role in two seasons at Arkansas, too, where he averaged 13.0 points per game. But he left Arkansas after an academic violation in 2008, and had to suddenly find a different path toward his goal of making the NBA. Two guys he talked to were fellow Chicagoans and NBA veterans Will Bynum and Tony Allen.

    “They told me, hey, everybody in the league can score,” Beverley recalled. “You gotta hang your hat on something different, and in your case it should be defense. I went overseas, I got better, I became a better defender, I worked on my point-guard skills. I took the mindset of leading my team, not scoring as much and focusing on defending.”

    Beverley’s overseas experience was not typical. He was not a college star, so he had to begin with a second-division team in the Ukraine, playing in front of scant crowds in high-school level gyms. He eventually moved up to the Greek powerhouse Olympiacos, before signing with Houston — with competition from the Lakers, Thunder and Bulls, who also had interest in signing Beverley — but those long days in Dnipropetrovsk in Eastern Ukraine still drive him now.

    “Ukraine, of all places, right?” Beverley said. “I think about it all the time. It was real dark and gray. It was something I just had to get used to, I had to go through it. I was not trying to look at any of the bad, I was looking at the good. It was a chance to get better and get where I wanted to go. But it was cold, man. There were a lot of long, cold nights. My mom came over, but it was tough. Second division in the Ukraine. Practicing in these YMCA types of places. Not always getting paid on time. It was all I knew, though. If that’s all you know, you can’t get spoiled by something else. I accepted the grind and the process. Here I am, brother.”

    He has come a long way, and has gotten back to the kind of stellar defense that defined him early in his time in the NBA. He has gone from scrapping just to stick with the Rockets, repeatedly challenged by new signees, to taking a leadership role.

    When he returned to the lineup in November, his first game back, Beverley could sense that his new teammate and fellow guard Gordon was tentative, unsure of how to mesh with Beverley. Beverley pulled him aside at halftime and told him to just shoot, just be himself.

    “EG, I tell him, ‘Man, as long as you’re on the court with me, be ready to do your thing, which is scoring,’” Beverley said. “I try to make it very, very easy for him. You have to make it easy for him because he is one of the purest shooters I’ve ever been around. But the whole makeup of our team is one thing, and that’s winning.”

    They’ve been doing a lot of winning so far. It’s early yet, but already there is a much different atmosphere around the Rockets, after a season of internal strife and locker-room head-butting. Conflict between Harden and Dwight Howard, now in Atlanta, got the most attention last season, but the reality was, just about everyone in the locker room was at each other’s throat. That’s disappeared.

    “The relationships on the team are so dope,” Beverley said. “We have a great locker room, and easy locker room, everybody enjoys each other. On and off the court, we hang around each other. It has been a different kind of air.”

    And, slimmed-down and refocused, Beverley has had a big hand in boosting the Rockets’ fortunes, shoring up a defense that only needs to be pretty good to balance the team’s potent offense. Beverley has come a long way, still driven by the long road he took to the NBA. He has lofty goals—the Defensive Player of the Year would be a historic achievement—but no shortage of motivation.

    “I have to always go out there with something to prove,” Beverley said. “I go out there with that approach whether I am facing the Brooklyn Nets or the Golden State Warriors. I am going to approach it like I am playing against the Monstars or something. I go out there, I play hard every game, no matter whose name is on the front of the jersey or back of the jersey. I go out there and try to be Pat.”
     
  2. Deuce

    Deuce Context & Nuance

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  3. heypartner

    heypartner Contributing Member

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    Should we put that second tweet in the Fraud thread?
     
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  4. justtxyank

    justtxyank Contributing Member

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    No he can't lol.

    Draymond and the Warriors have been campaigning for him since the offseason and it has already worked.
     
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  5. Mr. Clutch

    Mr. Clutch Contributing Member

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    Co-winner with Ariza
     
  6. Hippieloser

    Hippieloser Contributing Member

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    Is there anyone whose favorite Rocket isn't Beverley? Team just plays better with him around.
     
  7. Deuce

    Deuce Context & Nuance

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    .....without Dwight Howard.....
     
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  8. D-rock

    D-rock Member

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    Raja Bell 2.0. Morey loves his 3nD pitbulls, and they can come in all sizes.
     
  9. 11Rox4Life3

    11Rox4Life3 Member

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    He won't win DPOY (that imo will go to Gobert or Draymond), but he's making a very good case for first team all defense.
     
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  10. 13 in 33

    13 in 33 Member

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    Great teammate and even better person. I met him back in April at Combat Houston off of Richmond. My friends and I got to play paintball with him and his entourage. Very friendly, easy to talk to, and cool as ****!

    It's awesome to see him having such a positive effect on the team. With the media all over the Warriors, it's hard to imagine them not giving Draymond the award just because he complains about not having a DPOY yet. But if we keep up this play then it'll be hard to ignore the Wolverine.
     
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  11. Raider17

    Raider17 Member

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    Good read. This team wouldn't be the same without Bev, and it has really shown during this winning streak. He really is crucial for the team's success.
     
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  12. hakeem94

    hakeem94 Member

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    be careful though correlation doesn't always equate causation it's possible that team is playing better D with him because it took time for new defensive schemes to be practiced/perfected and fully adopted by the new team
     
  13. MrButtocks

    MrButtocks Contributing Member

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    Bev has been amazing on defense this year. I had low expectations as it appeared his defense had been declining for two years straight. His steals this year match his career high. His rebounds and assists are at career highs. He's still shooting 40% from deep and his assist to turnover ratio is greater than 3:1, which is impressive. He's so steady for us this season and a huge reason why we're doing so well. He's a perfect role player.
     
  14. Deuce

    Deuce Context & Nuance

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    I can't believe how FAST Bev is to loose balls. Chasing down everything. How many extra possessions does he give us? And crucial ones!
     
  15. count_dough-ku

    count_dough-ku Contributing Member

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    He dove to the floor and secured that rebound against Minnesota that gave us the possession where Ariza tied the game and forced OT.
     
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  16. Deuce

    Deuce Context & Nuance

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    Exactly!
     
  17. Mathloom

    Mathloom Consumption is a waste of time.
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    Great article.

    I don't know if he'll win DPOY, but if there's anyone who can will themselves to something, it's Pat.

    Sounds like Pat is confusing the coach and the wall.

     
  18. chenjy9

    chenjy9 Numbers Don't Lie
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    It has more to do with intensity he brings and the fact that he allows Ego to come off the bench and stay rested. I really love the Bev Ego dynamic though when Bev plays PG and Ego plays SG on offense.
     
  19. noppeper

    noppeper Member

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    Great read, thanks for sharing.

    Beverley looks better than ever this year.
     
  20. JoeBarelyCares

    JoeBarelyCares Contributing Member

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