Mar 20, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets guard Patrick Beverley (2) sits on the bench during the second quarter against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Richardson-USA TODAY Sports
Houston Rockets point guard Patrick Beverley recently spoke with Jared Zwerling of Bleacher Report about the main principles that make him one of the peskiest defenders in the NBA.
While his story and path into the NBA is incredible in itself, it’s the fact that he’s found his niche as an NBA player that will help him stay in the league that more and more people are taking notice at: his defense.
Below are some excerpts on the 10 defensive principles Beverley goes by:
1. No one likes pressure.
“Being the point guard, I know what I don’t like and I know what’s comfortable for me. I know when I’m bringing the ball up the court, many times no one is pressuring me, the guy is sagging back and that gives me a confidence that, ‘OK, I can run my offense free, I don’t have to worry about the pressure.’ But if someone is all over me and forcing me to use my handle and pressuring me and reaching in and slapping the ball, I know I don’t like that.”
2. The first objective is to set the defensive tempo of the game.
“That’s one of the reasons why coach (Kevin) McHale actually put me in the starting lineup, to set the tone defensively. When I go out there, I know some people might not like my defense, but I really don’t care.”
3. Steals are great, but the little things—like throwing off a player’s timing—can be just as good.
“People don’t understand getting a hand on the ball—not just stealing it—means a lot, especially in this league because everything happens so fast.”
4. If you’re going to give up anything, give up contested two-pointers.
“I look at like this: Any player I guard, long twos or shots like that, if they make them I still think that’s good defense. You can’t make those shots at a high percentage the whole game.”
5. Preparation? We’re talking about preparation? Please.
“I don’t like to look at individuals because if I see a weakness then I might try to take them for granted, and in this league you can’t do that. So I don’t, other than the film (of the opponent) that the coaches provide for us, I don’t watch any film on any player.”
6. Going head-to-head with the best can only make you better.
“That starts with James Harden. Ironically, me and James played against each other in high school. He was bigger than everybody then. We play one-on-one all the time, at UCLA this past summer, sometimes after practice.”
7. Learn from MJ.
“I used to watch Michael Jordan to the Max. They said that Michael Jordan wasn’t a good defensive player, but he made himself into a great defensive player. And that comes with getting stronger and having the mental toughness.”
8. A lot of conditioning goes into defense.
“I do track, I run football fields, I run hills. I run until you feel like you can’t run any more. I do the pool, I do anything that takes my body to the limit. I push myself all the time, and the Rockets have great strength coaches.”
9. Keep getting better.
“My next step is to guard the bigger 2s—the Dwyane Wades, the James Hardens. To do that, I’ve got to get a lot stronger. I have to worry about being in the post and all that, so that’s definitely my next step.”
10. Be the best, as a player and a team.
“I know Dwight will be mad when I say this, ‘I want to get Defensive Player of the Year.’ I also want to make either the first or second team defensively.”
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