The Minnesota Timberwolves defeated the Los Angeles Clippers in the first round of the Western Conference’s play-in tournament Tuesday night.
Anthony Edwards’ 30 points should have stolen the show, if not Karl-Anthony Towns‘ resoundingly poor night (11 points, five rebounds, four turnovers, six fouls), but Wednesday morning’s story centered almost entirely around Patrick Beverley’s end-of-game antics. Minnesota’s starting point guard jumped onto the scorer’s table, ran around the court screaming and crying, celebrated in front of Clippers— his former team— and owner Steve Ballmer, drinking beer at the postgame interview, and carrying himself like he won the NBA Finals.
He— rather, his team won the play-in tournament. They were not even in the playoffs yet.
Patrick Beverley the outcast
Patrick Beverley made a name in the National Basketball Association as a tough-nosed defender with unrelenting toughness and hustle. He attributes a large chunk of his demeanor to his time spent in Ukrainian, Greek, and Russian professional leagues when NBA teams did not want his services.
Beverley has always been one of those “love ‘em if you got ’em, hate ‘em if you don’t” type players. He plays hard— too hard at times— challenges every whistle, and throws himself around in any way that he can; but while he is labeled as a “junkyard dog,” he is more like a 33-year-old with a short-man syndrome.
Pat Bev started his history of dirty play in 2013 by diving for a loose ball and landing on the knee of then-Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook, causing him to tear his meniscus and miss the remainder of the playoffs.
A few years later, Beverley carelessly dove into Westbrook’s knees once again when the latter was not even paying attention to him. This maneuver would have prompted a red card and ensuing suspension in most soccer leagues, and it was a miracle that Westbrook was not seriously hurt once again.
Minnesota’s PG was up to his old ways as recently as last season when he headbutted Devin Booker while guarding him on the perimeter and ultimately broke his nose. While it was not an outright strike of the head, Beverley was poking his nose over the thin line he is known to walk and caused serious harm to a star.
Beverley’s crowning achievement in his NBA career came when he made the all-defensive first-team in 2017; since then, however, he has been present on several disappointing Clippers squads. Perhaps his exaggerated celebration Tuesday night was anger aimed at the logo and not the role he played in the underperformance.
He has only averaged more than 10 points in three of his 10 NBA seasons, the highest of which was 12.2 in 2017-18. He has always been a bottom-tier starter on decent-ish teams with an overinflated image of himself and distorted perception of his value.
The NBA media deserves blame for glorifying Beverley’s ridiculous demeanor and on-court behavior. Rather than criticize him for his stupid fouls and decisions that lead to easy points for opponents or reckless actions that injured several opponents, the networks would rather highlight his 1.1 steals per game.
The greatest example of how unserious a basketball player Beverley is came at last night’s postgame interview. D’Angelo Russell, who outperformed his season averages with 29 points, six assists, and three steals, said calmly that “We’re not excited. We’re supposed to be here.”
At that same time, an emotional Beverley (seven points, 11 rebounds, 25% field goal shooting, -5 +/-) was cracking open a can of beer to celebrate his status as a member of the playoffs. He was over the moon not to have won a single postseason game.
It is time to stop celebrating Patrick Beverley, the dirty, flopping, unskilled player that gets away with murder because he is passionate.