Patrick Beverley had his introductory press conference with the LA Lakers yesterday. Questions concerning Beverley and Russell Westbrook have been at the forefront since the Jazz traded Beverley to the Lakers a few weeks ago. On “First Take,” ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith said the pressure will be on Westbrook to handle Beverley being his teammate.
“I’m thinking about how he and Russell Westbrook couldn’t stand one another. … So, they’ve had those kind of battles. The difference is this: We going to find out about Russell Westbrook,” Smith said.
“I’m not talking about his talent because, believe it or not, I still believe in Russell Westbrook’s talent. I just think that he’s not a good shooter. But his athleticism, his competitive fervor, all those things, I’m not throwing no shade. I’m not doubting Russell Westbrook one bit.”
“The question is going to be are you willing to deal with a cat that’s wearing the same uniform as you, that’s gonna be in your, you know what! If you try to fade mentally or you try to act like you want to be so stubborn that you don’t want to listen to nobody, Patrick Beverley is gonna be one of the instigators, gonna try and change all of that.”
Smith said that he does not doubt Westbrook’s talent. He also said Westbrook must be prepared for Beverley to hold teammates accountable.
Patrick Beverley and Russell Westbrook
Beverley and Westbrook have had a combative history. The feud started when Beverley was involved in a play that injured Westbrook during the 2013 playoffs.
Since then, the two have had multiple heated, on-court exchanges. Westbrook, a nine-time All-Star, took their beef to another level with this remark after a 2019 regular-season game:
“Pat Bev trick y’all, man, like he plays defense. He don’t guard nobody, man. It’s just running around, doing nothing.”
The Patrick Beverley trade remains one of the most intriguing storylines this season. The purple-and-gold franchise struggled all of last season despite having Westbrook, LeBron James and Anthony Davis. The team didn’t make the play-in tournament.
The Beverley acquisition holds the risk of derailing the entire franchise. Despite the initial press conference indicating a friendlier relationship between the two, things could spiral out of control. More significantly, it may lead to another lost year for a team with perennial championship aspirations.