Luka Doncic’s historic rookie season changed the trajectory of the franchise in a major way. Last June the Mavericks were primed with a do-it-all forward in Doncic, and an explosive young point guard in Dennis Smith Jr.
While the goal was to form a dynamic one-two punch between the Slovenian and NC State product, the front office quickly realized that there wasn’t time to wait for Smith’s game to develop. They wanted to win now.
The question clouding Doncic’s ideal backcourt partner remains, but it’s becoming increasingly clear the Mavericks need another ball handler who can space the floor and play plus-defense beside the superstar-in-waiting.
Coming off a spirited season with the Los Angeles Clippers, Patrick Beverley’s free agency tour is coming at the perfect time for the Mavericks.
Beverley’s reputation is the direct result of his NBA journey. After two seasons at the University of Arkansas, Beverley played overseas before being drafted in 2009. From there he fought and clawed until he stuck on with the Houston Rockets before being traded to the Los Angeles Clippers in the Chris Paul trade.
At 6-foot-1, Beverley is a bit undersized, but what he lacks in size he makes up for in grit and toughness. The 30 year old’s career averages of nine points, four rebounds and 3.5 assists don’t tell the whole story; his tone-setting demeanor and defensive intensity are what make Beverley stand out.
After appearing in only 11 games last season with a season-ending knee injury, Beverley bounced back well contributing 7.6 points, five rebounds and nearly four assists in 27 minutes per night in 78 games this season. Beverley also shot 40 percent from three for the third time in the past four seasons.
Beverley’s calling card is his defense. Despite his size, he’s one of the game’s elite perimeter defenders, and it was on full display in the his first-round matchup with Kevin Durant. To make up for his size, Beverley seeks to gain a mental edge every minute he’s on the floor. Just ask Lonzo Ball how his NBA debut went. Beverley’s defensive numbers don’t necessarily jump off the page, but there’s not a game he plays in where his presence isn’t felt.
As the game continues to expose players that struggle to shoot the ball, Beverley’s ability to consistently strike from deep has proven his worth time and time again. In the past four seasons, the tenacious guard has shot under 40 percent from deep only once when he shot 38 percent in the 2016-17 season.
Beverley has never been one to distribute the ball at a high level. This season he sported an 18.4 assist percentage, placing him in a tier of players like Marcus Smart, Josh Richardson and Evan Fournier. Beverley also struggles scoring around the rim. On shots zero to three feet from the rim, the veteran connected on 49 percent of his attempts. And from three to 10 feet he shot only 38 percent, suggesting Beverley’s dribble-drive game will never be a concern for the defense.
Beverley’s durability is also a question. He played in only 11 games two seasons ago before undergoing microfracture and meniscus surgery on his right knee, but he bounced back this season playing more than 70 games for the second time in his seven-year career. Beverley’s intensity will always cost him games throughout the season, but the soon-to-be 31 year old will have to monitor his body to prolong his career.
Fit with the Mavericks
Beverley certainly has his limitations, but at his potential price, he might be the ideal backcourt partner with Doncic. He shoots a consistent three ball, he’s a rugged, tenacious defender and he plays with a tone-setting demeanor. With Doncic’s ascent and Kristaps Porzingis in the fold, Dallas doesn’t need a volume shooter or ball dominant guard. Rather, the Mavericks need a player capable of sporadically initiating the offense, hitting timely buckets and defending the West’s elite stable of guards.
Beverley seems like an attainable target, and he recently had some fun on Twitter with Doncic (spoiler, they share the same agent). But Dallas hasn’t chased the Beverley-type players in recent summers. Additionally, Beverley was part of an altercation with Mavericks’ fan Don Knobler, and was ejected for throwing the ball at Knobler in the stands after the fan allegedly shouted profanities at Beverley. The former Clipper also inadvertently knocked out Dennis Smith Jr.’s tooth, and didn’t get the reception he thought he deserved when he went to the Mavericks’ bench to apologize.
With a $5 million per year salary, Beverley could be balancing playing on a discount with a contender or cashing in one final time for his career. Dallas likely won’t be contending next season, but will have cash to spend. It’s not the flashiest move, but Beverley would be a shrewd signing for the Mavericks.