A lock-down defender is a guy that never takes a play off on the defensive side of the ball. He’s a pest, he’s physical, and he makes every possession for his opponent a tough one. One guy that fits this description is Houston Rockets point guard, Patrick Beverley.
Beverley has made his name known as one of the top defenders in the league today. Every guard has the Houston Rockets circled on their calendars. Not just because of James Harden’s offensive presence but also because they know nothing is going to come easy due to the feisty point guard on the other side of the ball.
The 4th-year guard is finally getting some notoriety for his presence on the defensive end and that defense has assisted this Rockets team to a 21-7 record, in which they are currently on a 10-game winning streak. Beverley’s defense has been so good, he believes that he’s the best defensive player in the league (via Sean Deveney of Sporting News):
That is one of my biggest goals,” Beverley told Sporting News this week. “I feel like I am the best defensive player in the league right now. I hope the whole world sees it. If we win games, more and more people see it. But the last guard to get the Defensive Player of the Year award was Gary Payton. Why not me? I have the same type of killer mindset that he had, the lateral quickness and quick hands. The swagger also. That’s one of my goals, my biggest goal. If I can get a goal like that, I will put my team in a position to win a lot of games.”
The Rockets are (as of last Friday), predictably, the second-highest scoring team in the NBA at 112.8 points per game, led by MVP candidate and offensive juggernaut James Harden. But the reason behind their recent surge has been solid defense. […] That starts with Beverley, who has become a big fan of his new coach. “One of the best coaches I’ve ever had—he’s open, we are able to talk,” Beverley said. “He doesn’t look at you like a number, he looks at you like an individual. He’s a good man at heart. He’s been great, he’s been phenomenal.”
I respect the heck out of Patrick Beverley for taking so much pride in his defense and wanting the acknowledgement for putting so much effort on that side of the ball. Especially in such a offensive dominant league where defense often gets overlooked. However, Beverley has a lot of competition when it comes to being the best defender in the NBA.
When you read that title, there are three names that immediately come to mind: Rudy Gobert, Draymond Green, and Kawhi Leonard. Gobert and Green have both been runner-ups in the Defensive Player of the Year awards. The big guy in Utah has been a stifling rim protector, using every inch of his 7’1″ frame while averaging 2.7 blocks on the season. Draymond Green has been the defensive anchor for one of the best defenses in the NBA for the past two seasons. His aggressiveness and physicality has affected opponents while his communication and leadership has been the true backbone to the Warriors defense. Last but not least, Kawhi Leonard has been the defensive player of the year for the past two seasons. His cool and calm demeanor has drove him below the radar while his length, hard-work, and consistent effort on defense has done all the talking.
What separates Patrick Beverley from all of these other names is that he plays the point guard position. In today’s game, versatility means everything. With all the names that were mentioned earlier (with the exception of Beverley), they have the ability to defend multiple positions. This pace and space offense has driven the admiration for NBA scouts to find guys who can play and defend multiple positions. And with Patrick Beverley being a 6’1″ guard, that versatility stand point doesn’t really point in his favor. Although his defense has been stellar thus far this season and all the recognition that he’s getting is well deserved, there’s some big competition that he’s up against for that best defender in the NBA title.