NBA point guards are notoriously hard to stop in an era where rules disallow contact and shooting skills reign supreme. Patrick Beverley, is one of the best defenders in the league, but even he doesn’t relish every matchup.
When asked on the JJ Redick podcast who his toughest defensive assignment is, Beverley responded with a name familiar to Portland Trail Blazers fans: Damian Lillard. Lillard’s speed and shooting ability make a nightmare combination for any opponent.
From the clip above:
Dame is one of the reasons why I went into the weight room. I told my guys, “Hey, I gotta get faster laterally. I don’t feel like I’m fast. I can’t keep up with the speed right now. I don’t know if I need to lose weight. I don’t know if I need to get stronger. I don’t know if I need to hire a new [insert profanity here] team. But I need to get [insert profanity here] faster. So I have you guys break that down.”
And so we worked a whole bunch and, you know, prime example, last year, iso play, game winner, and I get a stop on him. All that work for one play. One play! But hey, [insert profanity here] it. That’s how it is.
Speaking of Lillard’s evolution out of the shadow of Steph Curry into his own light, Beverley said:
He’s in a system where they allow him to be exactly who he is in order for them to win at a high level. Those half-court shots are like...for me that’s layups and corner shots. Half-court shots for him, though, you know... the dynamic is very different when you’re going out there preparing for a player like that...way different.
The Blazers face Beverley’s current team, the Clippers, in Game 5 of the eight-game regular season restart. The matchup is slated for August 8th.