The Dallas Mavericks defeated the Phoenix Suns 123-90 in Game 7 of the western conference semifinals on Sunday. The Suns were the best team in the regular season, the top seed and the favorite to advance to the NBA Finals. That they were upset and blown out at home might have revealed something about the team. Minnesota Timberwolves guard Patrick Beverley thinks so. He thinks future Hall of Famer Chris Paul is the problem.
“CP can’t guard nobody, man. Everybody in the NBA know that,” Beverley said while appearing on “Get Up.” “He’s a cone. … Give him the Ben Simmons slander.”
“CP can’t guard nobody man. Everybody in the NBA know that. … He’s a cone. … Give him the Ben Simmons slander.”
— ESPN (@espn) May 16, 2022
That’s spicy talk coming from Beverley. Not surprising, as he is one of the NBA’s biggest trash talkers. While he’s overstating his point, there is some validity there.
Paul was an elite defender for the majority of his career. He’s made nine All-Defensive teams and led the league in steals six times. Even at his advanced age of 37 he still grades out as a positive defender. He finished the season +1.8 in defensive EPM, which is in the 91st percentile.
However Paul has a major limitation that the Mavericks exploited. He’s small. At 6 feet, the Mavs repeatedly attacked him in pick and roll, getting the bigger Luka Doncic (6 feet 8) matched onto him. As smart and good as Paul still is, he can’t grow. Luka has an eight-inch and 50-60 pound advantage.
Beverley didn’t stop there. He went on to talk about the entire Suns team and said nobody in the league is scared of the 64-win Suns.
Pat Bev “spoke to Paul George last night man, ain’t no one scared of them”
On the Phoenix Suns 😂pic.twitter.com/gJLxwXkbRE
— ClipperTalk (@ClipperTalk) May 16, 2022
Beverley firing off hot takes could lead to his benefit. If the folks at ESPN like his on-air style he can possibly land a job as an analyst once his playing career ends. No doubt Beverley saw the $375 million deal that Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady has to be an analyst when he retires for good.
If anything, Beverley probably figures while he doesn’t have the accolades and bona fides of someone like Brady, he can certainly be entertaining. This is the entertainment business, after all.
Beverly continued his assault on the Suns as he made his away around ESPN’s morning programming on Monday.
“Do guys in the NBA go to sleep early the night before playing the Phoenix Suns?” Beverley rhetorically asked. “Hell no.”
"Do guys in the NBA go to sleep early the night before playing the Phoenix Suns? Hell no. … I'm going to Steak 44 … have me a nice little wine … Steph Curry? I'm going to bed at 8 o'clock. … Mom, don't call me. My girl, don't call me."
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) May 16, 2022
If we’re going to be fair, Paul knows he played terribly over the last five games of that series. He’d be the first to say so.
Beverley however shouldn’t be the one giving that analysis in the manner in which he gave it. As a guest analyst he is allowed to critique, but his remarks sounded personal. Which of course they were, as Beverley is still an active player in the league competing against Paul and the Suns.
“He’s finessed the game to a point where he gets all the petty calls, all the swipe-throughs at the end. I mean, this guy – we want to be honest? We want to be really honest? He should have fouled out. He should have fouled out,” said Beverley. “The last game, too. You see the replay against Brunson. Hit him on the shoulder, hit him in the mouth. Ref don’t call anything. If that’s me, ‘Oh, review it. Oh, flagrant one.’ If that’s him, they don’t call it. So, let’s not get it twisted, man. He should have fouled out. He can’t guard. He literally can’t guard.”
Highlighting Paul’s physical play in comparison with his own is comical. Does Paul push the line? Everyone knows that. Has Paul ever been considered a dirty player, the way Beverley has? No.
Beverley and Paul’s beef goes back a long way, as Beverley detailed on JJ Redick’s Old Man and the Three podcast in March.
“So I got invited into a LeBron James camp. You know, the big Nike LeBron James camp when we was in college. … You on a certain team, you get to play against LeBron. I think OJ Mayo was there. Chris Paul was there. I killed them,” said Beverley. “Destroyed them in front of every f—-n’ NBA scout out there. I’m a sophomore in f—-n’ college I’m going at them every f—-n’ play, I’m calling them a child. And then I see him in the NBA. So of course the energy’s gonna roll over to the NBA.”
Patrick Beverley explains his backstory with Chris Paul.
— Hoop Central (@TheHoopCentral) March 11, 2022
Of course it should also be noted that Beverley’s Timberwolves were ousted in round one of the playoffs, while the Suns were in a Game 7 with a spot in the conference finals on the line.
Then of course there is the fact that while he’s an NBA player, Beverley is a role player. A good one at that. But everyone knows there are levels to this. He can talk all he wants but the history of the game will mention Chris Paul, not Patrick Beverley.