When fans name the biggest players on the L.A. Clippers, they probably mention Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, the two superstars who both joined the team last summer. Leonard and George are the two brightest stars on the team, but there’s one reason the biggest leader on the team is Patrick Beverley. Here’s a look at the role he plays on the team.
Patrick Beverley’s career
Born in Chicago in 1988, Patrick Beverley attended two high schools in the Chicago area before going to the University of Arkansas. After an academic fraud scandal in his junior year got him suspended, he played in Europe. The Lakers drafted him in the 2009 NBA draft, but Beverley didn’t make his NBA debut until he joined the Rockets in 2013.
The 31-year-old spent five seasons with the Houston Rockets and has been with the Clippers for three seasons. He was named All-Defensive Second Team in 2014 and All-Defensive First Team in 2017. Beverley’s career stats mostly look average. Across his eight seasons in the NBA, he’s averaged 9.0 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 3.5 assists per game. However, he helps make the Clippers outstanding at offensive rebounding.
Leonard and George join the Clippers
The Clippers added two big stars, Leonard and George, to the team this past July. At the time, the L.A. Times called them “perhaps the most talented all-around tandem in the NBA. Leonard is a three-time All-Star, while George is a six-time All-Star. Leonard is also a two-time NBA champion and two-time Finals MVP.
Leonard left the Toronto Raptors, where he’d played for one season, and then helped convince George to join him from the Oklahoma City Thunder, where he’d been for two seasons. Over his career, Leonard has averaged 18.4 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 2.6 assists per game. George’s career stats are even higher at 20.0 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 3.3 assists per game.
Those two popular players also have some of the highest-selling jerseys, according to the NBA Store. Between October 2018 and January 2019, George had the 12th and Leonard had the 13th most popular jerseys.
Why Patrick Beverley is the real leader of the Clippers
While not the star of the Clippers or their most popular player, Patrick Beverley fills an important role as a leader for the team. That also frees the top players on the team from filling the role of leader. FanSided.com calls Beverley a “very vocal, all-heart, this-amp-goes-to-eleven bulldog.” He shows his leadership by being vocal on defense and setting the tone for the team. FanSided notes that when Beverley hasn’t played in the past two seasons, the Clippers have won just 28% of those games.
Those are good qualities for a leader to have, but that’s not why Beverley is the Clippers’ leader. Coach Doc Rivers reveals that Beverley’s leadership stems more from his basketball IQ and adaptability.
After an early January game, Clippers coach Doc Rivers praised Beverley’s skills:
“He’s not a pure point guard, but he’s doing his best. I told him after the game I thought he called a great game. Every play he called was the right play.”
In the same interview, Rivers also shared how he shows his faith in Beverley’s leadership by giving him a playsheet before each game. Rivers has only previously done this with Rajon Rondo and Chris Paul.
Before games, Patrick Beverley is often loose and joking with fellow players. During games, whether on the floor or the sidelines, he calls plays and helps teammates and opponents strategize their plays. And after the games, he is critical while staying positive, sending out tweets praising his teammates.
While not the biggest star, Patrick Beverley is a leader for the Clippers and also holds the trust of his coach as well.