Patrick Beverley said he didn’t know what it would feel like to finally hear his name called as a member of the Chicago Bulls.
Even after it happened Friday night in his successful debut, even after public address announcer Tim Sinclair used the powerful “From Chicago . . .” to introduce him during starting lineups, Beverley wasn’t sure.
“I wish I had something better for you, but I’m so locked in before the game,” Beverley said. “I feel it more after the game than before.”
After the game, Beverley sat sipping a celebratory beverage, drawing widespread praise from coaches and teammates for his vocal leadership and consistent communication during the Bulls’ 131-87 blowout of the Brooklyn Nets that snapped a six-game losing streak.
The box score lists that Beverley finished with eight points, five rebounds and four assists in his 22 minutes. What that stat line doesn’t capture is his presence.
“His talk is really uplifting and inspiring and positive. There’s not negativity. If he’s getting on players at all, it’s lifting them up,” coach Billy Donovan said. “Even for himself from an accountability standpoint, talking about a switch he messed up, he was like, ‘Zach (LaVine), I’ll be better.’ That’s the kind of dialogue it is with him. The enthusiasm and energy comes across very positive.
“He’s always upbeat and energized and trying to get guys going. That’s what he does. And it’s not over the top where it’s non-stop. He’s been around a long time. He knows where his spots are to communicate. Forget about between the lines, his spirit was great.”
Added DeMar DeRozan: “He holds everybody accountable and competes at a high level. When you see a teammate with that type of mentality, you gotta follow behind it.”
Beverley already had the respect of and relationships with DeRozan and LaVine. He’s also merely being true to himself by leading with communication.
“I believe communication is the biggest thing to being human,” he said. “You’re in a relationship, married, whatever the case may be, communication or the wife will get mad. You got a friend, he feels some type of way, communication or the friend gets mad.
“So it’s the same thing in basketball. Communication helps you get organized and stay together. It comes naturally.”
Granted, it’s just one game. And the Nets are embarking on a rebuild following the trades of Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant.
But the Bulls played with a different energy on Friday night. And Beverley’s debut only reinforced the argument that he may be a better fit than the ball-dominant Russell Westbrook whom the Bulls also pursued in the buyout market.
“My job is not to hoist a lot of shots. My job is to make sure we stay in steady offense, to make sure the key guys get the ball where they need to go,” Beverley said. “Stay aggressive on the offensive end but try to make the game easy for Zach. Make sure he didn’t have to do a ton of dribbling. Make sure DeMar catches it in his spots.”
That’s what Beverley did.
“He’s just got a really good feel as a veteran guy of what’s going on out there from that position. He can tell who’s got his shot, who’s got it going, what they’re doing defensively,” Donovan said. “He’s a bright guy who has been around for a long time. I think he knows how to manage the game pretty well.”
Beverley said his only focus is on how he can try to impact winning.
“I guess (Friday) it was with communication,” he said.
LaVine and DeRozan said to keep it coming.
“He’s a veteran guy, been in the league a long time. He has played with great Hall of Fame players. He been in some of the biggest games,” DeRozan said. “So it’s not surprising at all that he catches on quick. His knowledge of the game is definitely there and his compete level is off the charts.”
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