If making a list of starting point guards ahead of Patrick Beverley in the NBA pecking order, it begins with guys clearly ahead of him like Russell Westbrook and it extends into the likes of Mike Conley and Ricky Rubio, both of whom are far superior options to Bev.
Realistically, there are 11 starting point guard better than what Kevin McHale will be trotting out at the 1-spot just in the Western Conference alone. The argument can be made that Beverley is a top-notch defender, and there’s validity to that, but his ability to run a team and score the basketball doesn’t measure up with the bulk of the playmakers.
Stephen Curry, Goran Dragic, Steve Nash, Russell Westbrook, Damian Lillard, Ty Lawson, Tony Parker, Jrue Holiday, Mike Conley and Ricky Rubio are all better options than Beverley for any offensive scheme. Beverley is a borderline starter, when all is said and done. Only Darren Collison, Jameer Nelson and Trey Burke are potentially worse than Beverley, and arguments could be made that all three are in fact superior.
While the Rockets can still likely win 50 games with Bev at the helm, further improvement hinges upon getting a better point guard. Beverley is good against smaller guards, but he finds himself woefully under-matched against the likes of Damian Lillard and Westbrook. Beverley has historically forced Curry into a lot of miscues, a facet of his game he has to excel at to even be mentioned in the same breath as the top floor generals in the Conference.
The fact that the Rockets had been linked to Kyle Lowry over free agency—and both Rajon Rondo and Goran Dragic most recently—is illustrative of the fact that Rockets GM Daryl Morey is seeking to upgrade the point guard position in a major way. The Rockets will continue to actively pursue trades for a starting caliber point guard.
Bev isn’t a bad player by any means, but his high energy and offensive deficiencies dictate that he may be best in a second unit. Even if he is relegated to that role, he could close out games in situations that called for pestering defense. Beverley, in short, is a bench spark-type of player, just not a starter.
It’s tough to make all these statements after watching Bev play his heart out over the last two seasons. He’s gone from an unknown to an NBA starter, but for the Rockets to take the next step, those days as a starter have to come to an end. Beverley just doesn’t match up to over two-thirds of the guards in the West, and that is problematic. Having James Harden, one of the game’s best 2-guards, helps to balance it out some, but typically championships teams have no holes at any positions. And right now, until a better scorer and playmaker is added, the Rockets certainly have a weak link at point guard.