Pat Beverley explains difficulty of defending Rockets’ Russell Westbrook

Russell Westbrook #0 of the Houston Rockets is fouled by Patrick Beverley #21 of the LA Clippers (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Russell Westbrook #0 of the Houston Rockets is fouled by Patrick Beverley #21 of the LA Clippers (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

Patrick Beverley cited Houston Rockets guard Russell Westbrook as one of the most difficult players to defend in the league.

Russell Westbrook and Patrick Beverley‘s well-known feud has left Houston Rockets fans on each end of the well-documented rivalry. Beverley was a fan favorite, as his rise and ascension from the crime-ridden streets of Chicago made it easy to root for him.

However Westbrook is a part of the current Rockets regime, and Rockets Nation has taken him in as one of their own. Westbrook is the all-around superstar Beverley never evolved into, although Beverley has proven to be one of the league’s best defenders at the guard position.

Beverley and Westbrook are two of the league’s most intense competitors, as neither of them have ever backed down from a challenge or a player, regardless of the odds that may have seemed to have been stacked against them. But there’s alot more gamesmanship and respect that Beverley has for Westbrook than what’s been discussed in the press.

This was on full display when Beverley last joined the Knuckleheads podcast and was asked to list the most difficult players to defend across the league.

Beverley explains challenge of defending Rockets’ Westbrook

“I’ve got to put Russ up there, cause you don’t know what you’re gonna get from him. Russ can go cold for five games and then you’ll play him and he’ll hit five threes.”

This is an exorbitant amount of praise from Beverley, whose two All-Defensive selections indicate that he knows a thing or two about defending. But he’s right about Westbrook being a nightmare to defend, because Russ has an insane amount of athleticism, which makes it difficult to slow him down or even stay in front of him.

How Rockets fans impressed Beverley post-trade. Related Story

In addition, Westbrook’s psyche is to attack the opposition, as he’s previously expressed his desire to take it directly to the chest of the opponent. Westbrook also has the steady mid-range shot, which has produced nearly 16 of his 27.5 points this season.

Russ also has the streaky ability to make 3-pointers, as Beverley pointed out, despite the fact that he’s not known to be a sniper from deep. The Houston Rockets superstar made 35.7 percent of his triples in the 2018 playoffs, while making a higher percentage from deep in the 2019 playoffs than Paul George, Chris Paul, Joe Ingles, and Kyrie Irving, who are all viewed as marksmen from long-range.

The old adage is that game recognizes game, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Beverley is giving Westbrook his respect, regardless of the feud the two have against one together. Westbrook has led the league in scoring on multiple occasions and is averaging 27.5 points this season, becoming the first non-Harden Rockets player to average 27 points since Hakeem Olajuwon, which is no small feat.

We shouldn’t expect the personal rivalry between Westbrook and Beverley to end anytime soon, regardless of the fact that Beverley is giving Russ his credit here. Neither of the two players are the type to wave the white flag and call a truce with an opponent.

Next. D'Antoni explains when we should see Russ/Harden

But iron sharpens iron and Westbrook and Beverley have each benefited from having to go against one another, regardless of whether they like each other or not.