Russell Westbrook and Patrick Beverley have plenty of reasons not to like each other. But they’re reportedly willing to put that aside for the good of the Lakers.
The NBA doesn’t feature as many hated personal rivalries the way it did decades ago, but Russell Westbrook and Patrick Beverley are definitely a throwback. It all started in 2013, when Beverley collided with Westbrook trying to get a steal while Westbrook was trying to call a timeout. Westbrook ended up with a torn meniscus and the heat was on.
The trash talk continued over the years, with Westbrook saying things like “Pat Bev trick y’all, man, like he playing defense. He don’t guard nobody, man. It’s just running around, doing nothing.”
Beverley has said publicly that comments like that actually hurt his career.
“People looked at me differently, people around the NBA: coaches, players. After that, people were just taking the ball, going at me,” he said. “I’m like, ‘What the f**k?’ All because of what one person said. People really looked at it like, ‘Yeah, maybe this motherf****r don’t play defense. Only thing he does is run around.”
Beverley and Westbrook are teammates now with the Lakers and it’s reasonable to wonder whether this personal enmity will translate. According to Marc Stein, Westbrook and Beverley have been in contact since the trade and will likely be sharing the court quite a bit.
Can Russell Westbrook and Patrick Beverley co-exist on the Lakers?
Beefing or not, it’s hard to imagine Westbrook and Beverley as a workable combination for long stretches. Beverley hit a respectable 38.5 percent of his catch-and-shoot 3-pointers last season but he’s not a dynamic off-ball shooter and doesn’t have a ton of perimeter gravity.
He’s also used to a role as a complementary player and he isn’t the kind of guy you would imagine complaining about not getting enough shots. But Beverley IS the kind of player you would imagine letting Westbrook know he feels about watching his backcourt partner attempt contested pull-up after contested pull-up.
The bottom line is that Beverley is a good pick-up for the Lakers and his defensive skills, intensity and comfort playing a role on offense will definitely raise the team’s floor. But if Westbrook keeps playing the way he did last year, it won’t really matter.