New Clipper Patrick Beverley critical for team’s success

The Los Angeles Clippers will be relying heavily on a lot of newcomers this season. Patrick Beverley is no exception.

Generally regarded as one of the league’s best perimeter defenders, Beverley will have his hands full on a nightly basis. The Western Conference will dole out a plethora of talented scorers, and Beverley will be responsible for checking them.

Take, for instance, a matchup with the Golden State Warriors. Beverley could be tasked with guarding any of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, or Andre Iguodala–depending on who Golden State head coach Steve Kerr deploys.

With the number of capable scorers in the West, Beverley’s defense is more critical than ever. With the Houston Rockets last season, the combo guard was rewarded for his efforts by being named first-team All-NBA defense.

He also wants people to know the difference between him and the team’s former point guard. “I am not Chris Paul,” Beverley said at his introductory press conference. “Let me reiterate, I am not Chris Paul. Understand, he’s not me either.”

Beverley, 29, will receive a large share of the team’s ball-handling duties, especially once head coach Doc Rivers goes to the bench. The guard is not foreign to the concept, as he was the primary ball-handler in Houston before Mike D’Antoni opted to put the ball in James Harden’s hands.

Rivers will also ask Beverley to contribute on the offensive end. With the loss of J.J. Redick and Paul, the Clippers will need to make up for a significant loss of shooting. In 2016-17, Beverley converted on 38.3 percent of his three-point attempts. The prior season, he buried a career-high 40 percent from distance.

“I think most people see hard-working guys who are agitators on the floor and they don’t give them the basketball IQ part of it,” Rivers said of Beverley. “But I’ve been most impressed with the IQ part of it, his knowledge. He does homework. He studies the league.

Along with Danilo Gallinari, Beverley needs to emerge as a reliable three-point shooter. His value on the defensive end, plus his shooting capabilities, make him one of the Clippers’ most important players this season.

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