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Patrick Beverley has been discussed a lot on this site recently. More accurately, he's been picked apart. The man we call Mr. 94 Feet or the Honey Badger has not had his best season for the Rockets, accepting more responsibility than ever before now that Jeremy Lin is gone and it's his show to run (kinda -- we know who really runs the show in Houston).
So while we fantasize about bringing in this or that star point guard to push Pat to the bench, and pick apart his offensive game, let's take a moment to appreciate the man, to remember why we enjoy having him on our team and not someone else's. Let's hear it for possibly the most tenacious player in the NBA.
Yes, it would be nice for the Rockets to ease the burden on Pat, but I would be shocked if any Rockets fan would claim that the team would be better off without him come playoff time. Not because he's the most likely to injure an opponent's star player (or at least not to me), but because of the intensity that will consume the Western Conference playoffs this year.
By this point, you all know at least some of Patrick Beverley's story -- how he bounced around Europe after excelling at Arkansas (and leaving the school under controversy), failing to catch on after being drafted by Miami, bouncing around Europe again, and finally winning an RGV gig back in Texas.
Pat was never anointed as a savior with gobs of natural talent. Hell, he was never anointed as anything -- any second-round draft pick in the NBA is a "maybe he can win a roster spot" pick. Even when he moved up from second to first division basketball in Europe, he struggled to get consistent minutes with Greek powerhouse Olimpiacos.
Four years after averaging 9 minutes per game in the Euroleague, and two years after being signed as a Rio Grande Valley Viper, Pat Beverley is starting in the NBA, and he has never shown an ounce of fear -- quite the opposite -- when matching up against the most talented players on Planet Earth.
So how exactly does a point guard with mediocre-to-average passing skills, a poor (before this season) outside shot and less-than-ideal size come all this way? How does a guy like Pat stand out on a practice court among taller, more athletic prospects than him? By outworking every damn player on the court, that's how. With tenacity and toughness and grit and all the characteristics that would have sportswriters changing their underwear if he was white. He is as close as any NBA player can get to the great @PFTCommenter's prototype of a lunchpail guy.
That's why, of all of his discernible NBA skills, rebounding might be his strongest. Even in a down year for him, he gets 8% of all rebounds when he's on the floor, better than bigger guards like John Wall and Kyrie Irving, and right in line with human Jeep Wrangler Eric Bledsoe. But it's more than just the rebounds that are emblematic of how tenacious he is.
The Patrick Beverley brand of tenacity includes a hearty dose of mania. Who can forget this insanity, born from the mind of a Jack Russell Terrier trying to scrap with a Doberman and a Rottweiler (and WINNING)?
Damian Lillard did something like that, and the whole world stopped. But hey, that's just my two cents. So even though he hasn't been at his best the past couple of months (to be generous), I'm going to miss him if he winds up getting traded. Here's hoping the Rockets can upgrade the team and still keep a honey badger around to add some tenacity to the equation.
Oh, and just in case you forgot, Patrick Beverley is still the Most Skilled Player In The NBA©: