While the focus of their offseason appeared to be finding a new home for Russell Westbrook and possibly trading for Kyrie Irving, the Los Angeles Lakers made a different trade last week. They traded Talen Horton-Tucker and Stanley Johnson to the Jazz to acquire Patrick Beverley.
The Lakers had a disappointing last season, to say the least. After hoping to make a championship run, they failed to even make the playoffs. Several changes needed to be made to their roster if they wanted to contend for a title this year.
Patrick Beverley is one of the steps they made to improve their roster. He should be an important player for the Lakers, but is it that great of an improvement, considering the circumstances of his arrival? In this article, we weigh the pros and cons of the Lakers signing of Pat Beverley.
Obviously, Pat Bev is an amazing on-ball defender. Some would call him a pest because he gets in his opponent’s head and forces them to make mistakes. As the closest defender, Patrick Beverley held his opponents to the second-lowest shooting percentage in the league last season. With the help of Anthony Davis and Patrick Beverley, the Lakers should return to being a solid defensive team after being ranked only 21st in the league last season.
For Patrick Beverley, it is more than just his defense. It is the energy he brings to his team in every game he plays. He is an extremely competitive player who doesn’t like to back down from any challenge. Last season, that competitive spirit helped the Timberwolves have one of their best seasons in several years. Patrick Beverley’s energy provides the Lakers with something they were lacking at many points last season.
Any team that has an energized and motivated LeBron James is a scary team. If Patrick Beverley can help bring that energy through his defense and competitive mentality, it should spell good things for the Lakers. Additionally, his energy should be amplified by Lakers fans in the arena, as they are usually good at cheering on their home team.
Even though Patrick Beverley is a great signing for the Lakers, there are a few issues when you look at the whole perspective. The first is who they traded away. Talen Horton-Tucker was considered to be LA’s most valuable trade asset. Although this trade provides them with more financial flexibility for next season, how many more options do the Lakers have to improve their roster this season? For a while it seemed like Horton-Tucker would be able to help the Lakers land a very solid role player or star via trade, so it seems like giving him up only to receive Patrick Beverley wasn’t quite as worthwhile as initially anticipated.
Trading away the young Horton-Tucker for a 34-year-old Patrick Beverley also means the Lakers get older. Age was a huge problem for the Lakers last year. They were the oldest team in the league. That affected not only their energy levels, but it also led to the team battling through injuries all year. Patrick Beverley should have no problem bringing the energy, but less young legs is usually not a good thing.
The next issue to consider is Beverley’s history with Russell Westbrook. The two have a long history of not getting along. Although teammates are usually able to settle past differences for the good of the team, the personalities of these two players might indicate that they will not be able to put their differences aside. Although the Lakers are looking to trade Russell Westbrook or perhaps even remove him as an active player, neither of those things have happened yet. The Lakers need to make sure that the team they have is functioning at its absolute best. Any beef that Westbrook and Beverley have could disturb that.