Bad play, effort, heart, aggression and fire are what could sum up a lot of the problems for a lot of the Rockets players during the season.
Dwight Howard had games when, if he wasn't involved early, he wouldn't be very active the rest of the game. Corey Brewer brought the effort but couldn't buy many shots, missing shot after shot at the rim and from three. James Harden gave you 30 point games but played defense about as well someone trying to pay attention to Ben Stein teaching an economics class. Don't even get me started about what Ty Lawson gave the Rockets.
While everyone was a little up and down throughout the season, one of the mainstays was Patrick Beverley. This year was a breakout for the feisty point guard.
Beverley is the complete team guy, doing whatever is asked of him. When the Rockets traded for Ty Lawson, he was one of the first guys to show his excitement for the move. When the Rockets made Lawson the starter he had no issues and came off the bench and helped make the second unit flow.
The fiery point guard did lower his points per game from the previous two seasons but it was clear he was a better player offensively.
He shot a career high from the field (43%) and from the three-point line (40%). Beverley became a key three-point shooter for the Rockets. He became a nice bailout for Harden. When the Beard would drive through the lane and wasn't getting the look he wanted, he could kick it out to Beverley for a three.
One of the most exciting things about Beverley's game was the running tear drop that he started to use a little more throughout the second half of the season.
It felt like Beverley had earned some of Harden's trust down the stretch. He would let Beverley bring up the ball so he could be more of a shooting guard. He'd be able to come off screens for spot up shots or get to a spot he wanted on the block and work his man in the post. Harden would still end up taking back control, but Bev proved he could do it.
On the defensive end, it's easy to say Beverley took a step back, but the whole team took a step back. Beverley's defense the year before earned him a defensive all-NBA second team nod. This year he will get no such recognition, but that's not completely his fault.
The Rockets defense staked its livelihood on switching and the team was just never as good as the season before. The communication was bad and often times you'd see guys, even Beverley, leave someone wide open because they weren't sure who they were supposed to pick up.
There were some defensive flashes when the Rockets would start to play a little more man on man. Beverley could just worry about pestering his man to death rather than switching from guy to guy. He plays pretty good man up defense. But like the rest of the team, when they keep on flipping around on guys on defense it just didn't go well.
Beverley's offense took a step forward, his defense and the team's defense took a step backward. One of the things that you could never question about Beverley was his heart and his motor.
If you need a someone to take a charge, Beverley is your man. You need someone to goad the opposition into getting a technical, Beverley is your man. You need someone to go into the land of the giants and pick up a key rebound, Beverley is your man.
The tough and gritty point guard was the heart and soul of the Rockets and in most games it felt like the team went how he went. If Beverley was out there getting the crowd jacked up and putting energy into the building, the team fed off of it.
The team as a whole took a few steps backwards. But of all the players on the Rockets, the point guard from Chicago was one of the few guys that took a step forward. Whoever becomes the next head coach will find themselves with a point guard on the cusp of something truly great.