The Lakers acquired Beverley from the Utah Jazz on August 25th. New Los Angeles head coach Darvin Ham has reportedly told Westbrook and Beverley that he plans to play them together in select lineups.
Westbrook and Beverley have been extreme rivals ever since what happened in 2013 when Westbrook was on the Oklahoma City Thunder and Beverley was on the Houston Rockets. During a Thunder-Rockets game, Westbrook was dribbling the ball toward his bench to call a timeout when Beverley went for a steal and took out the one-time MVP’s knee, which led to a meniscus tear and multiple knee surgeries. Since then, Westbrook and Beverley have gotten into several tussles and verbal back-and-forths.
Last season during the Lakers’ loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves on March 16th, Westbrook was brutally disrespected by Beverley, who called the UCLA product “trash” in front of the Los Angeles bench. However, it appears Westbrook and Beverley could be squashing their beef now that they are teammates.
Beverley Excited for Westbrook
Beverley appeared in 58 games for the Timberwolves last season. Utah acquired the veteran guard from Minnesota in the Rudy Gobert trade. A Chicago native, Beverley averaged 9.2 points, 4.1 rebounds and 4.6 assists in 2021-22 while shooting 40.6% from the field, 34.3% from beyond the arc and 72.2% from the free-throw line.
Meanwhile, Westbrook started 78 games for the Lakers in 2021-22 and averaged 18.5 points, 7.4 rebounds and 7.1 assists while shooting 44.4% from the floor, 29.8% from 3-point range and 66.7% from the charity stripe. The future Hall of Famer was second in the NBA in turnovers and his effective field goal percentage of 47.6% was sixth-worst in the league.
Over the past five seasons, Beverley has held opponents to 41.9% shooting as the closest defender, second best among players defending at least 2,000 shots, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Lakers vice president of basketball operations and general manager Rob Pelinka said Los Angeles is “thrilled” to have Beverley.
“We are thrilled to add Patrick Beverley’s toughness and competitive spirit to our team,” Pelinka said on August 25th, via Lakers.com. “We’re confident that Patrick’s ‘3-and-D’ style will fit in nicely with the other pieces of our roster, and align perfectly with Coach Ham’s philosophy of hard work and smart play.”
Lakers legend Kobe Bryant was able to play with Ron Artest and Matt Barnes despite having intense rivalries with both forwards prior to them joining Los Angeles, so maybe Westbrook and Beverley can mesh.
Ham Determined to Carve out ‘Real Role’ for Westbrook if Star Isn’t Traded
According to an August 28th report from Stein, Ham is determined to carve out a “real role” for Westbrook if the nine-time All-Star isn’t traded. The Lakers are still exploring trade possibilities for Westbrook. However, if no trade comes to fruition, Ham will do his best to make it work with Westbrook, who picked up his $47.1 million player option for next season.
“Yet I am also hearing that, if no trade involving Westbrook materializes and if he is on the roster when the Lakers start practicing on Sept. 27, new Lakers coach Darvin Ham remains determined to carve out a real role for Westbrook,” Stein wrote. “Sources say that the Lakers, to date, have strongly resisted the idea of shelving Westbrook completely until they can find a trade for him like the Rockets tried last season with John Wall — even after trading for longtime Westbrook adversary Patrick Beverley. Westbrook, who turns 34 in November, appeared in 78 of the Lakers’ 82 games last season.”
CBS Sports is predicting that the Lakers will start Westbrook, Beverley, Juan Toscano-Anderson, James and Anthony Davis next season if Westbrook isn’t traded.