James Harden just might end up being the league’s MVP, and even if he falls short for the second time in three years, there is certainly no denying how great his season has been.
Harden during the regular season averaged 29.1 points, 8.1 rebounds, and 11.2 assists a game, and was the motor that made the Rockets go.
At the start of the season even with Harden, the team would struggle to a 6-5 start as Corey Brewer and Eric Gordon tried to fill Patrick Beverley’s void while he was rehabbing from injury.
But once Beverley was back and injected into the starting lineup, the team started to live up to their potential, rocketing past everyone to end up with the third-best record in the NBA.
Now the Rockets didn’t become a great team overnight just because Beverley came back to the team, but you also can’t discount the value that he brings to the team.
Beverley even when he can’t score is still a massive bottle of pent up energy. Even though the 6’1 point guard is often the smallest guy on the court, the energy that he brings, more times than naught can power the whole team by himself.
If the Rockets are struggling, no problem, Beverley will get a steal, take a charge, grab an offensive rebound, hit a three and bam instant energy change.
After dispatching the Thunder in the playoffs, the Rockets are now turning their attention on over to the Spurs and Beverley not Harden just might be the biggest x-factor during the series.
Harden is going to get his 30-40 points a game during the series, mark it down now. But that’s expected.
Beverley however likely won’t be the even the team’s third leading scorer, probably not even the fourth highest, but what he will give the team is “it.”
The best way to describe the “it” Beverley brings is through the +/- numbers, and when he finishes a game in the positive, the Rockets win 91% of their games (38-4).
Beverley is the ultimate teammate, he really doesn’t care about scoring or putting up stats. He does what the team needs him to do.
Guard Russell Westbrook, sure.
Stand on the wing and wait for open three’s, sure.
Run the second team offense, you betcha.
Go in amongst the trees and pick up an offensive rebound, of course.
Beverley isn’t the offensive mastermind that Harden is, nor is he instant offense like Lou Williams or Eric Gordon. What he will bring to the Spurs series is someone who will out grind and out competes damn near everyone on the floor.
Against the Thunder, Beverley shot 41% from three, pulled down six rebounds a game and he played good defense. Westbrook got his points, but he’d have to work pretty hard to get them and often times he’d run out of gas in the fourth, maybe that was because of Beverley or maybe not, but what we do know is he sure did take a lot of jumpers…
Kawhi Leonard like Harden is going to be a beast, and there are no amount of double or triple team’s that will change that, but what the Rockets can do is make sure to limit Tony Parker as much as possible, and Beverley will have his hands full with the crafty veteran.
Beverley will have many jobs against the Spurs and will be a key reason if the team will advance or not.
1) Lock down Patty Mills and Parker.
2) Run the second team offense for the few minutes when Harden ends up resting.
3) Grab rebounds
4) Bring the energy.
Beating the Spurs is going to take everyone upping their game, and if everyone can compete and have the same level of energy as Beverley does all the time, the Rockets should end up doing well.