Opportunity Knocks: The Unbearable Lightness of Beverley May 19, 2015 By Eric Weiss & Kevin O'Connor
Patrick Beverley doesn't care what your name is. And he's not afraid to tell anyone that will listen. That feisty bravado may have rubbed some people the wrong way initially – NBA guys don't like players who think they're better than they are…until they are better than you thought.Beverley's road to becoming an NBA starter is an interesting journey worth exploring; one which makes him the starting Point Guard on Sports Aptitude's “All Steal” All-Star Team for our “Opportunity Knocks” series:
-DeAndre Jordan (Coming Soon)
-DeMarre Carroll (Coming Soon)
-Patrick BeverleySituation is everything when it comes to gaining the opportunity necessary to “get your shot” in the league. The psychology of success depends so much on matching the personality of a player to his ideal learning environment, something we've covered exhaustively here.
INDIVIDUAL STORY & ANTICIPATED ROLE
Beverley was in a film, a TV show, and a top 75 recruit by the time he was 18 – for a player with strong dominance characteristics, a social status like that is bound to come pouring out at the seams.
Thanks to the NBA's hand-checking and other defensive rules changes, scoring point guards were starting to come into fashion while Beverley was at Arkansas. Unfortunately, he spent a lot of time as a 2-guard during his sophomore season, and was not a particularly productive as a distributor, nor was he an explosive scorer. His negative (-1) Pure Point Ratio in 2008 would rank dead last in this year's draft class among point guards, as would his scoring rate (13.1 points per-40), while his TS% would have clocked in at second to last.
Despite stellar “3-and-D” statistics, his diminutive size (6-0 ¼ without shoes) and lack of demonstrated pure playmaking had him in the dreaded “tweener” zone at a time when combo guards were just starting to gain popularity.
Spiriting away mysteriously to the Ukraine before the end of his sophomore year was over didn't help things either. Turning in a paper he didn't write was a critical, one-time offense that Beverley didn't shy away from when returning from his early stint overseas.
"I'm a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. Someone did a paper for me. I turned in a paper that wasn't mine. I accepted full punishment for it. That's over. I served my punishment -- going overseas,” Beverley told ESPN in 2009. “You can't allow things to weigh you down in life, period. As a man, I understood that more after being over there in the Ukraine. You have to learn to be accountable for everything you do.”
Beverley's propensity to take risks (89th percentile) may have factored into this poor decision. Players who score high in “Risk-Taking” tend to venture forth in a fearless manner.
“I wasn't thinking. I didn't think I would get caught,” Beverley said. “I look back at those childish things. I learned from my mistakes. I guess that's what it took. It's amazing. It's crazy. People who have known me my whole life see how much I have changed. The way I carry myself and go about things is different. I really think to be a professional you have to a pro in every way in your everyday life."
Lots of people say they're sorry, but it's easier to buy into his remorse when one looks at his Warmth, Restraint, and Sentimentality ratings, which are all key indicators of someone with accountability and concern for how his actions impact others.
Unfortunately, some of Beverley's best attributes likely masked these qualities and hindered his ability to make the type of humble “aw-shucks” impression that many team's look for from players who've made mistakes in their immediate past.
“Critical” types are defined by their “rebel” mentality, a combination of controlling, oppositional, and change-seeking behavior; believing in the righteousness of their causes and vehemently defending their points of view.
It is often difficult for players like Beverley who have had an extreme amount of attention and accolades early on, but then suddenly find themselves dealing with disappointment for the first time. There is often an expectation when so much has gone right, that things are destined to go your way again.
These strong personalities often get weeded out of the selection process because of their unyielding nature. Those that have had “issues” often get “red flagged” and written off. Many players in this situation are not as well equipped to handle it, often times deflecting responsibility for their actions and searching for excuses not to change.
This group of “Critical” players makes up only 14% of the SA database, a quality that is as rare as it is productive, for those who find themselves in the right situations to succeed.
It is very uncommon to fall into both the “Critical” and “Dutiful” categories. In fact, there are only two other players in the NBA that share Beverley's combination of ratings in these two categories – Draymond Green and Jimmy Butler (with Wesley Mathews just 2.6% shy of joining this group).
Beverley doubled-down, bet on himself, and got to work on improving his game at a time where many players who share his “Critical” trait would simply go down swinging, holding fast to their beliefs.
Beverley's strong belief in his own potential and relentless quest to prove himself worthy of his early career accolades would eventually led him to the Houston Rockets – the destination where his “talk” would finally meet his “walk”.
TEAM ENVIRONMENT & OPPORTUNITY GIVEN
The Rockets entered the 2012-13 season primed for “Linsanity,” after seeing both Kyle Lowry and Goran Dragic depart the previous year. Houston had high hopes for Jeremy Lin at the point, but brought in Toney Douglas to add some defensive punch to the backcourt.
By January the team was already looking to switch things up. Houston had a 103.8 defensive rating, only 20th in the league, the day that Beverley showed up. In the 41 games he played, Houston boasted an incredible 98.8 defensive rating when Beverley was in uniform. That's a mark that would have been good for sixth overall.
Beverley's tenacity and “in your face” approach had been refined and perfected during his three seasons overseas, and the qualities that once were a turnoff for scouts (his nonstop on-court chatter) were now the precise qualities that would spring him forward – especially for a Rockets team desperate to establish a strong defensive identity and “instigator” mentality.
Beverley is the ultimate competitor, taking on the toughest challenges and raising his level of play in key matchups. This is consistent with his high Dominance scores, since those players tend to seek out challenges and thrive in situations that other people may find challenging or stressful.
Over the past two seasons Beverley has managed to limit top point guards in the Western Conference, such as Ty Lawson and Mike Conley. According to SportVU, eight of the West's top point guards shot 5.5% worse when defended by Beverley. They surely could have used that in these NBA playoffs, certainly in the Western Conference Finals against Steph Curry.
Again, situation plays a tremendous role in how key personality factors play themselves out. While Beverley's skillset got him a shot at earning a role, the simple fact that Houston wanted him for something he was good at would help him maximize the “Dutiful” facet of his demeanor and turn the “Critical” component into a competitive fury, which he has unleashed onto the league.
But it was more than Beverley's tenacity that helped this equation work out. Back when he was simply trying to prove himself worthy of getting a chance to establish himself coming out of school, teams were more prone to grill him on his past transgressions therefore triggering his sense of need to defend himself – a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Being accepted by his team and knowing he could provide something of value would help to lessen that defensive/defiant edge and help him to focus his efforts on living up to expectations.
Feeling confident that there was a clear role and objectives before him, Beverley could now tap into another unique facet of his personality, his “Cautioning/Caring” Team Identity, which is defined as a person who, “seeks to build personal relationships, is attentive to the needs of others, and a voice of reason within group.”
Beverley could now focus his attention on fulfilling his role and earning the trust and respect of his peers. Among all 126 “Critical” players in the SA database, only 19% share this quality. Having a genuine desire to build relationships and live up to others expectations is an uncommon trait among the league's most aggressive and outspoken players.
Beverley has put this to good work, but a Rockets team that is allowing 106.8 points per 100 possessions could use him in the unlikely event he's able to return for the Western Conference Finals against the Golden State Warriors, who are scoring 107.4 points per 100 possessions. Jason Terry and Pablo Prigioni have done a serviceable job platooning for the Rockets, but things are about to get serious against NBA MVP Stephen Curry.
The three remaining starting point guards in the playoffs all excel in the pick-and-roll and in isolation, which makes Beverley's return even more crucial. He allows only 0.629 points per possession in the pick-and-roll, because his strong fundamentals and tenacity make for a lethal combination.
Beverley ranks as one of the league's best in Closeout Points Allowed, which is measured by Vantage Sports, since he covers ground in a flash, chops his feet to get shooters off the line, and still manages to contain penetration. Despite spending the majority of his minutes defending elite point guards.
Beverley also ranks above the league average and leads all Houston guards in Vantage's Keep-in-Front%. This is defined as the percentage of drive attempts a player stays between the opponent and the basket, despite the fact he spends the majority of his minutes defending elite point guards.
It remains to be seen if Beverley can return to produce the type of bull dog defense that can be game changing to the otherwise offensively explosive Rockets. But rest assured, the analytics friendly Houston front office knows Beverley's value.
With the salary cap spike due to set in soon, it will be interesting to see how Beverley's perceived value has changed since those early days out of school. As Sinatra once said, “love is lovelier the second time around”. [Read Full Article] Euroleague Final Four--NBA Storylines May 5, 2010 There are not many 21-year-old players seeing significant rotation minutes at this level of European basketball--and surely none of them are American. Miami Heat 2009 draftee Patrick Beverley is doing just that, though, playing an important role as an energizer and defensive stopper off the bench for a very good Olympiacos team. He's extremely efficient inside the arc, contributes as a rebounder and is a pace-changer with the pressure he's able to put on the ball defensively.
Beverely stepped up after Von Wafer was unceremoniously dismissed from the team back in December and hasn't looked back. His limitations as a perimeter shooter and playmaker can be pretty glaring at this level, but, considering his age and the experience he's garnering under Coach Panagiotis Giannakis, it's tough to say that he would have been better off honing his craft on a bad Arkansas team rather than playing for one of the best squads in the world outside the NBA. [Read Full Article] A.T.T.A.C.K. Athletics Workout May 26, 2009 Interview:
Beverley is a guy we’ll probably focus on more heavily when we get a chance to evaluate him at the Reebok EuroCamp in Treviso in two weeks, but he left a nice impression from what we were able to see here. He’s a lanky guard with a skinny frame and a nice wingspan, as well as solid athletic ability. His main virtue lies in his very quick and aggressive first step, which allows him to create his own shot and get into the paint at a good rate. Beverley’s jumper wasn’t falling very consistently from NBA range, but he appears to have the ability to make shots, particularly off the dribble. Defensively he looked pretty focused and intense. Beverley took an interesting route to the NBA draft, as you’ll hear in the interview we conducted with him. The year he spent in the Ukraine obviously helped him mature quite a bit as a person. [Read Full Article] Top NBA Draft Prospects in the SEC (Part One: #1-#5) October 3, 2007 From a pure-production standpoint, Beverley had an outstanding freshman season, walking away as the SEC’s freshman of the year. The talented guard from the Chicago area will look to come back his sophomore season and establish himself as one of the top players in the SEC, while trying to win games and impress scouts at the same time.
Beverley is a streak scorer who can absolutely light it up from the perimeter when ‘on’. A threat as a set shooter and off the dribble, he makes some very difficult shots against even the best defenses. As a freshman, he shot 39% from behind the arc on the season, an impressive feat considering that he hoisted five threes per game. Beverley’s also utilizes an impressive mid-range game to his advantage, showing the ability to pull up from 15 feet or shoot the floater over bigger players inside the paint.
Defensively, Beverley plays with good all-around effort, and uses his length well to keep the offense from penetrating. Help defense positioning appears to be another strength for the sophomore guard, though he does struggle to fight through screens against stronger players at times.
To make the jump to the NBA, Beverley will have to prove he can become more of a distributor. Last season, he spent a good amount of time playing the 2 guard spot, and didn’t exactly show great floor general skills while manning the point. When driving to the hoop, he seems much too focused on finding his own shot rather than breaking down the defense and finding the open man. Beverley does show some solid passing skills in the open court, and his role as a scorer might limit what he can show as a point guard, however.
Physically, Beverley lacks the ideal size for the NBA, and really needs to add weight to his frame. At the next level, bigger guards will be able to punish him in one on one situations, where they will just back him down and score. Beverley shows good quickness in the open court, but he rarely takes advantage of this in the half court setting. Rather than penetrating all the way to the basket and drawing a foul, it seems that he chooses to take a more difficult floater at times, which has an effect on his scoring efficiency.
Patrick Beverley has the tools to play in the NBA, but he must further develop his point guard skills to reach his potential. His shooting could make a very nice compliment off the bench in the NBA, and a Daniel Gibson type of role would make sense for him at the next level. If he can show progress as a sophomore and lead Arkansas into the NCAA Tournament, Beverley will help his draft stock considerably. [Read Full Article] U-19 World Championship Review: Guards August 19, 2007 Playing almost full-time as a shooting guard, Beverley emerged as perhaps the best player on the US Team, taking full advantage of his shooting stroke, while also providing some secondary distribution to fuel the team's ball flow. In the end, he led the team in scoring and assists, being the player who stood out the most on court for the American team.
The most obvious skill Beverley puts on display is his wonderful shooting touch, particularly from mid-range distances. He's money in the bank either in spot-up fashion, off the dribble even after crossover moves, or coming of a cutter. He shows elegant mechanics, with nice elevation and a fluid release. His range goes out to the three-point line, being also able to knock down off-the-dribble treys, but visibly more comfortable in spot-up mode. Using his nice quickness and very solid ball-handling skills, Beverley can create his own shot or attack the basket, either to finish himself or effectively dish the ball. Still, he eventually forced too much, over-dribbling and allowing opposing defenses to collapse on him, even if that wasn’t the most consistent pattern at all.
Still, what didn't come clear out of his performance in the championship is his ability to successfully run the point and distribute the ball as a playmaker. Our personal guess is that he won't have much trouble in this regard, as he seems to enjoy the tools and showed a nice ability to find open teammates. He's obviously extremely undersized for a shooting guard, and his NBA hopes rely on how well he fills a playmaking role. [Read Full Article] DraftExpress 2006-2007 SEC Postseason Awards March 5, 2007 Freshman of the Year: Patrick Beverley, 6-1, Point Guard, Arkansas
This was a disappointing season for Arkansas, one that could very well see coach Stan Heath being fired due to his team’s continuous underachievement, but the light at the end of the tunnel for Razorback fans is there in a freshman point guard who looks to be developing into a bona fide SEC star. Beverley, a late signee out of Chicago, led Arkansas in points, assists, steals, and minutes played. With no departing seniors on the roster, Arkansas should be considered one of the top teams in the preseason SEC rankings next fall. [Read Full Article] Roundball Classic: Game Recap April 12, 2006 The Chicago native had a very nice performance at the Roundball, although he still projects as more of a SG then a PG at the moment. He showed the ability to break down virtually every guard that the East team had to offer, and made some very sound decisions with the ball in his hands. The Marshall High guard has been one of the fastest rising players in the nation this past spring, and scoring 35 points per game this past high school season didn’t hurt him either. He is currently considering Michigan, Arkansas, and St. John’s and has said that he sees himself as a “Daniel Horton type guard”, which is a pretty accurate description of his style of play. [Read Full Article]