Ball is Life: On Pat Beverley and leadership

The one thing that has amused me about this season is how much NBA fans and analysts still hate the Houston Rockets even while this team continues to embarrass themselves.

Only the Los Angeles Clippers attract even remotely the same amount of hate over social media, and at least they’re a good team. But even as the Rockets spiral into irrelevance, there is still plenty of outright glee over how they are playing, especially after losing to the Golden State Warriors without Steph Curry. And this playoff “run”, which was supposed to spare the Rockets the embarrassment of falling to the lottery, is just destroying their credibility even more like Rahat said.

But while James Harden and Dwight Howard are hated for various reasons, neither of them have embraced the hatred like a proper heel might. But not Patrick Beverley. Beverley is the kind of guy who will straight up challenge the NBA’s golden child, even if it did not necessarily end well for him in Game 1, and led to the Golden State crowd still lustily booing him throughout Game 2.

And I like that about Beverley. In a season where the Rockets have shown no fire and questions have been raised about James Harden’s leadership, the question should instead be why the other Rockets have not followed Beverley’s example.

It is not like a role player leading the Rockets would be unprecedented. Yao and McGrady may have been the best Rockets in their era, but the true leaders of the locker room were a combination of Shane Battier, Chuck Hayes, and Dikembe Mutombo. The big reason why Houston wanted Mutombo to return so badly in 2009 was because they felt Mutombo could provide leadership at a time when McGrady and Ron Artest were clashing in the locker room.

Jason Terry could fill that role, and apparently did last season. But he’s been by and large invisible as the Rockets have self-combusted both on and off the court. And whatever moves Morey makes to rebuild this team, I expect him to sign another veteran with one foot out of the league.

But Beverley, even as he has disappointed on defense this season, does hustle every single blasted night. His shooting numbers actually improved this season, and I do think that on the right team, that moment where he stood up to Curry could have been the spark to boost his own team and not the Rockets.

Beverley cares about basketball, which was definitely shown by one off-court incident a season or two ago. The Houston Rockets uploaded a video (which I can’t find) asking their players what they would do if they were not in the NBA.  Most of the responses were fairly normal, as they listed some other career they might like to try.

Beverley, by contrast, basically said that he had no idea what he would be doing if it was not for basketball, and even insinuated that he might be dead. Given his long and tough road into the NBA, that is not a totally unreasonable supposition. But remarks like that just show that Beverley is one of the few players on this team who still has a swagger which has not been on this team all season.

Morey will probably search for another point guard to start alongside Harden, but it seems that for four years now, he keep looking for a point guard who can give a bigger offensive punch and replace Beverley. But Beverley is still here. I would not call him a bright spot on this thunderstorm of a season, but perhaps he’s just a drizzle and not a Houston level flood.

So, godspeed, Beverley. And if the Rockets aren’t going to win the next two games, at least harass the Warriors and do everything you can to make sure the team is not mocked more than it already is.


About the author: The son of transplants to Houston, Paul McGuire is now a transplant in Washington D.C. The Stockton shot is one of his earliest memories, which has undoubtedly contributed to his lack of belief in the goodness of man.

in columns
Follow Red94 for occasional rants, musings, and all new post updates
Read previous post:
Golden State Warriors 115, Houston Rockets 106: Bring it home