Patrick Beverley is a jerk.
That’s the best way to describe his rough, rugged, trolling style on the court. He’s the asshole friend that speaks his mind and flips off the consequences. Pat Bev is precisely what the Los Angeles Lakers need right now.
Beverley hasn’t been in town long and is already shaking things up in Lala land. When asked about playing alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis, Beverley corrected the reporter:
“They’re gonna be playing with me,” Beverley said. “I made the playoffs last year, they didn’t. It’s a difference…”
Pat Bev is barely settled in the building and already sounds like he feels right at home. Everyone knows whose team this is, but Pat could provide that spark needed to reignite the Lakers flame after last season.
Speaking of sparks, old rivals are now teammates, with Beverley joining the same backcourt as Russell Westbrook. The feud between these two seems to have been squashed at Beverley’s introductory press conference. Upon finishing up, Beverley walked over to Westbrook for a quick hand for a quick bro hug.
Hopefully, these two can coexist during the regular season. We know all this stuff is for the cameras, and they are playing for Hollywood’s team. Plenty of good actors running around L.A..Patr Some reside in NBA locker rooms. Never forget the scene when Westbrook first got traded to the Lakers last offseason. All the talk was about Russ, LeBron, and AD and how well they were getting along. Then the season rolled around, and things haven’t been the same.
If Westbrook isn’t traded at some point during the season, this could wind up being another disastrous year. All we see are smiles, giggles, and hugs now. Wait until that first game, where new head coach Darvin Ham sits Russ in favor of Pat in crunch time. We’ll see how many hugs go around after that happens.
Sure, James still leads this team, but the Lakers missed the play-in tournament despite him averaging 30 ppg last year. They weren’t even a top 10 team in the western conference without a healthy Davis. Beverley is a nice addition, but Rob Pelinka needs to figure out a way to move Westbrook and bring in at least two to three pieces that actually fit.
ESPN has the Lakers projected starting lineup listed as the following:
PG – Russell Westbrook
SG – Patrick Beverley
SF – LeBron James
PF – Anthony Davis
C – Thomas Bryant
Nothing is final, but this is uninspiring, even as a projected lineup. Like last year and the year before, this team’s chances come down to whether AD can stay healthy. We know what James brings, but he’s not the same guy that could drag anybody to the Finals. LeBron needs more help now than at any time in his career. Scoring tons of points is fantastic, and he’ll likely pass Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the NBA’s all-time leading scorer this year, but that won’t guarantee a successful season.
At this point, a successful year for James is only measured in competing for and winning a championship. Just making the postseason or a second-round exit won’t cut it. The Lakers’ best chance of doing so hinges on the duo of James and Davis. Only having one for most of the year could mean another early vacation for Bron and the fam.
Don’t forget that other team that plays in the same building. The Clippers’ superstar Kawhi Leonard is due to return, and they’ll be heavily in the mix. Jamal Murray should be back in Denver, then there’s the Suns, Grizzlies, and Timberwolves, who will be better. And let’s not forget the defending champs from the Bay Area. The Warriors will be back and looking to defend their title.
If AD plays 65 games and the tandem of Russ/Pat Bev can mostly get along, then the Lakers have a chance of finishing top six in the conference. Again, LeBron is going to do what LeBron has always done. He just needs more help at this point in his career. After all, the King will be 38 in December.