Sometimes help comes in small packages, and from the seemingly unlikeliest of places.
Patrick Beverley’s journey to the NBA was far more circuitous than that of most players in the league. After being drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers in 2009, he was traded to the Miami HEAT, who eventually waived him. He spent considerable time in Europe, playing in the Ukraine, Greece and Russia before getting a shot with the Houston Rockets a little over a year ago. He was immediately assigned to the NBDL’s Rio Grande Valley Vipers, but he didn’t stay there long. After just a week of D-League duty, Beverley was called up by the Rockets and he quickly made his mark on the team.
Houston’s starting point guard is supposed to be Jeremy Lin, who was a big name for a couple of months in New York before falling back to earth in Houston. When Beverley stepped onto the court, the Rockets got something they didn’t get from Lin. Beverley brought a level of intensity and a sense of unpredictability that the team desperately needed. He would appear in 41 games last season, playing a far more important role than his 5.9 points per game would seem to suggest.
This season Beverley came out with even more fire, and that’s saying something. Already a player who never takes a play off and who constantly looks to motivate his teammates with his energy (and his mouth), Beverley got off to a hot start as Houston’s starter at the beginning of the season. In 31.5 minutes per contest he averaged 9.6 points, 3.9 rebounds and 2.2 assists before a fractured hand sent him to the sidelines in late December.
Tonight, if all goes according to plan, Beverley will be back in the lineup as the team looks to avoid being one more victim of Portland’s trail blazing.
Beverley’s return couldn’t come at a better time for Houston, as the Rockets are struggling to live up to the lofty expectations that accompanied Dwight Howard’s arrival. They don’t have the assets to make a significant move unless some team decides to take the contracts of Omer Asik or Jeremy Lin off the Rockets’ hands, two scenarios that appear unlikely at this point. The key, then, to Houston improving enough to be a top four seed in the West is internal growth and development. Beverley isn’t exactly a superstar, but he does bring an element to the basketball court that the Rockets sorely need.
Beating Portland is a tall order, but expect Houston to be better immediately just for having Beverley back in the mix.
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