In Patrick Beverley’s mind, the Bulls should be 9-2 since the point guard arrived, not 7-4.
Charles Rex Arbogast/AP
Very little gets by Patrick Beverley these days.
Opposing guards obviously top that list.
But when the Bulls veteran was discussing what his addition to the roster over the last month has meant, he wasn’t going to let the reality of the record versus his perception beat him to the spot, either.
“Should be 9-2,’’ Beverley insisted, when the 7-4 record was asked about after Saturday’s win over Miami. “The team that really beat us was Phoenix … and Toronto.’’
He then brought up the fact that it took game-winners by both Indiana and Sacramento to knock the Bulls off.
“So really should be 9-2,’’ he added.
What wasn’t up for debate, however, was the idea that the culture and mentality of this team has toughened up since Beverley returned to play for his hometown team.
Soft hands now have calluses.
“He’s added a lot of value to our team,’’ coach Billy Donovan said of the Beverley effect. “I love his presence, his competitiveness, the way he comes in [the locker room telling the team] on a back to back, ‘We’ve got to be ready to play!’
“I love his message and his disposition and the way he is every day. He has a great motor and enthusiasm and loves the game and loves competing. And I love being around him because he’s also very genuine and straight up.’’
The feeling is beyond mutual.
Before joining the Bulls and playing for Donovan, the former Marshall standout knew very little about the coach.
All he’s done since Day 1, however, is praise the Xs and Os of Donovan, as well as his game preparation.
“Billy’s got a lot of sh—,’’ Beverley has said several times, referring to his new coach’s knowledge.
He also appreciated the fact that Donovan allows him to play “with freedom.’’ According to Beverley, the only other coach that put the basketball in his hands and allowed him to just run the team and do what he feels he does best was Doc Rivers.
That freedom was on full display against the Heat, when Beverley got hot from outside in the second quarter, and Donovan just rode him.
The five threes hit by Beverley were a season high, and really the first time the Bulls were able to get a glimpse of what Beverley can bring to the offensive side of the ball. His defense is well-known, but if he can be a consistent knock-down shooter with how often DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine get double-teamed? That changes a lot about this Bulls team with just 12 regular-season games left and the fight to maintain a play-in spot on the line.
“I’m 38 percent in my career from the three over a decade, but no matter how well I shoot it, I think it’s the look of me,’’ Beverley said. “People want to leave me open.
“Keep letting them do it … [forget] ‘em.
But he didn’t say “forget.’’
That wouldn’t be edgy enough for Beverley.
When asked what he meant by his “look of me’’ comment, it was again vintage Beverley. Displaying his high basketball IQ, but also maintaining that him against the world mentality.
“[The league sees] me as a defensive guy,’’ Beverley said. “They don’t see me as a three-point shooter. My numbers are up there with the best of them. [But] you’ve got to take away something. I’ve played with a lot of great guards and am fortunate to play with DeMar and Zach. No one person can guard them. I guess it’s Pat Bev [they leave open]. I like it that way.
“[Friday’s win over Minnesota] the right play was them putting the ball in the hole. [Miami] double-teamed [LaVine and DeRozan] and they were able to kick it out. I’m a basketball player. I’m always going to make the right play.’’