Reinforcements have arrived: Patrick Beverly will return to the Rockets' lineup on Monday against the Trail Blazers after missing almost a month with a fractured hand, according to Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski. Beverly confirmed it this afternoon.
Can't wait to play Monday. So hyped. H-town turnup. Its officiaI, I'm on the court Monday.— Patrick Beverley (@patbev21) January 18, 2014
Beverly's return should be quite the boost for the maddeningly inconsistent Rockets. As we saw Thursday night, this team can go for long stretches of completely listless play. That starts with James Harden and Dwight Howard, who don't, at least right now, appear have the disposition to bring their teammates' intensity level up.
Sure, Beverly is a dynamite defender and a capable point guard. More important than his role is it allows Jeremy Lin to shift to the bench and become the primary scorer and ballhandler, the role that suits him best. Most important is Beverly is energy incarnate. He makes hustle plays a few times a game that have ripple effects on the rest of the Rockets. His defensive tenacity raises the level of the other four players on the floor.
Have the Rockets missed his 10 points and two assists a game? Sure. His absence has led to the re-emergence of Aaron Brooks, which is a good thing. Now Brooks can play as an effective off-guard to Jeremy Lin while they switch defensive assignments.
But with Beverly back, the Rockets get their spark back. And man, do they need it.