LA Clippers: Patrick Beverley Ready for Bledsoe & Pelicans

There will be some changes to the LA Clippers after 11 games this season. One thing that won’t change is the impact and intensity of Patrick Beverley.

Throughout the NBA, nine-year veteran point guard Patrick Beverley is regarded as one of the most tenacious and aggressive defenders. This is evident in his accomplishments of being selected to the NBA All-Defensive First-Team in 2017 and the NBA All-Defensive Second-Team in 2014 and 2020 with the LA Clippers.

What he makes up for in the lack of complete offensive reliability, he makes for with effort and his efficiency on defense. This season, Beverley has responded well to the criticism of his offensive performance by being more reliable for the Clippers’ explosive offense. Beverley averages 8.5 points per game on a 42.7% field-goal percentage, a 43.8% three-point shooting percentage, and an 81.8% free-throw shooting percentage.

This is a player who defined the term hit-or-miss when it came to shooting threes in the past couple of seasons for the Clippers. This season, Beverley has been a more reliable shooter for the Clippers. He has had seven games this season where he has accounted for a field-goal percentage of 40%, with five of them having five or more attempted shots from behind the three-point arc.

His best offensive performance this season came in the LA Clippers’ 116-113 home loss to the San Antonio Spurs, where he scored 20 points shooting 7-from-10 on field goals and 6-for-9 from the three-point arc. Beverley only had three games this season in which he went negative in on/off point differential.

Each game, the Clippers look to suppress and overpower a key player or scheme against their opponent. While forwards Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson are two players for the New Orleans Pelicans to watch out for, this game will bring a special matchup for Beverley.

This Wednesday night would have been the sixth overall matchup between Patrick Beverley and Pelicans starting point guard Lonzo Ball. The point guard has been ruled out of the game with bilateral knee tendinopathy.

Even before being drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers second overall in the 2017 NBA Draft, Lonzo has been given a reputation of being pampered and gifted his role with the team, largely due to his father Lavar Ball. Lonzo is not as aggressive-natured as his father, but that Hollywood attention still makes him an easy target for a player such as Beverley, who has a reputation of being a defensive bully.

Beverley is 5-0 versus Ball when both players are healthy and playing. The last three matchups have played this past season after the Lakers traded Ball, Ingram, shooting guard Josh Hart and three first-round picks for Anthony Davis.

In the five games where he faced Beverley, Ball shot a 36.8% field-goal percentage (21-57) and a 35.5% three-point percentage (11-31). Lonzo has also turned the ball over 17 times in those five games against the Clippers with Beverley in the lineup.

With Ball being out, the Pelicans will likely turn to their other starting guard in Eric Bledsoe or their backup point guard in Nickeil Alexander-Walker. So far this season, Bledsoe has averaged 11.8 points per game on a field-goal shooting percentage of 43.7% and a three-point shooting of 37.8%. Bledsoe has turned the ball over twice per game.

Patrick Beverley and Bledsoe both have a history of facing each other in the regular season. The two point guards have met 14 times, with Beverley taking eight of those victories. Last season, the Bucks defeated the Clippers twice with Bledsoe as their starting point guard.

In their last matchup, Bledsoe accounted for 10 points, five assists, and two steals, shooting 40% (2-for-7) from the field and 40% from the three-point arc (2-for-5). He is a more talented offensive point guard than Ball and is also a positive contributor on the defensive side of the court. Eric Bledsoe is a consistent shooter from any range and can establish the offense.

In the three matchups between the Clippers and Pelicans, New Orleans has relied on Jrue Holiday to establish the offense at the point guard position. With Holiday now with the Milwaukee Bucks, the Pelicans rely on Ball to start and establish their plays and their offense. There is a huge difference in talent and potential between Holiday and Ball. Bledsoe is a player that has more overall talent than Ball but not as efficient as Holiday. Beverley will look to aggressively slow down the Pelicans’ offense and terrorize Bledsoe in a potential heated game between the two players.