I am on the record as someone who generally finds Patrick Beverley’s whole deal to be exhausting. Russell Westbrook was perhaps never in a position to be criticizing anyone else’s ability to inflate their reputation beyond the scope of their actual skills, but he had a point about Beverley. It’s not just the intense wacko routine and the relentless trash-talking that make him tiresome, but the fact that he does it all while running around and doing a lot of things that look like playing defense while also committing a ton of fouls and losing his cool. And then when things don’t go his way, he lashes out like a petulant baby.
It was inevitable, then, that upon scoring seven points on 2-of-8 shooting in 33 minutes during his team’s play-in victory over the Los Angeles Clippers, Beverely was going to act like he just won the NBA championship.
Did he stand on the scorer’s table and throw his jersey into the crowd? You bet:
Did he get on social media in the locker room for the sake of talking shit about Clippers, whom he played for last season? Of course:
Did he cry? He cried!
These histrionics brought down no shortage of clowning upon Beverley’s head, the most cutting of which was probably delivered by the Inside The NBA crew, who had a good chuckle at a compilation of Beverley’s postgame reactions that was soundtracked by “We Are The Champions.”
And yet, even as an avowed Patrick Beverley hater, I am here to argue in favor of his over-the-top reaction to simply making the playoffs. It’s nice to accomplish things! That truth is not necessarily altered by the fact that the accomplishment in this case was contrived out of thin air by a league desperate to inject some more juice into the end of its regular season, because all athletic achievements are the result of similar contrivances. One of the more annoying aspects of pro sports culture is the belief that a championship is the only goal worthy of pursuit and celebration, which leads to far too many athletes adopting a Kobe Bryant–ish stoicism in the face of any successes short of that ultimate goal. Any game can be a Big Game if it’s big to you, and thus can be celebrated as such.
And besides, watching Beverley throw himself a little championship parade just because his team won the play-in game is only going to make it that much more satisfying when we eventually get to see him eliminated from the postseason in humiliating fashion. The playoffs are long and ceaseless and always in need of little storylines to help hold our attention until the Finals kick off. Nice petard you’ve got there, PatBev. Sure hope you don’t get hoisted with it!