Kendrick Perkins is optimistic about the potential backcourt partnership of longtime foes Russell Westbrook and Patrick Beverley after the latter was traded to the Lakers this week, saying the pair could thrive together and form a ‘dangerous’ duo.
While Westbrook could be swapped out of LA and the two have a beef history with each other, the former Celtics center thinks Beverley can improve Westbrook’s game after a brutal 2021-22 season.
“Iron sharpens iron,” Perkins continued… first takerecognizing how Westbrook’s defenses have lagged in recent years.
“So if you take Patrick Beverley there, all of a sudden Russell Westbrook can’t get away with the stuff he got away with last year because he’s got Patrick Beverley going to push him, we know he’s going to show up to do night in, night out to work.’
He added: Twitter“Russell Westbrook is arguably the most athletic guard to ever play basketball…and his goal this season should be to make an All-Defensive team for the first time in his career!”
Patrick Beverley (above) and Russell Westbrook could be a fleeting match in LA
Westbrook had a disappointing 2021-22 season as the Lakers missed the playoffs
Aside from the pair’s questionable fit on the field, as Westbrook is a poor three-point and midrange shooter, the point guard and Beverley have a history of ill will, starting when Westbrook was on the Thunder and Beverley played for the Rockets. .
During a playoff game in 2013, Beverley tried (and failed) to steal the ball from Westbrook as he dribbled to the bench for an impending timeout.
Westbrook suffered a torn meniscus during the game and missed the rest of the postseason.
A year later, Beverley tried the same tactic, and although Westbrook was uninjured, the Thunder guard was completely furious, requiring the two to be separated.
The feelings didn’t seem to fade over the years, as they resurfaced during the late 2017 season.
‘He looked up and said ‘Nobody can guard me’, I have 40 points’, Beverley recalled after that match. ‘I said that’s nice, he took’ [looking at the stat sheet] 34 shots to get it.
“Men lie, women lie, but the numbers don’t.”
Westbrook then kept the fire burning in 2019 proverb the following:
“Pat Bev is cheating on you all, man, like he’s playing defensively.
“He’s not guarding anybody, man. He just runs around and does nothing.’
And last March, Beverley reparcelled the beef and went on to say: JJ Redick’s podcast that Westbrook’s comments about his defense “damaged my career.”
A month earlier, the then Timberwolves guard seemed happy with Westbrook’s battle with the Lakers.
‘I remember someone said I’m just running around and I’m cheating on all of you [crying laughing emoji],’ he said.
“Well, my boy is the real wizard this year.”
Stephen A. Smith didn’t share the optimism of his ESPN colleague Perkins first takewondering how the pair might fit together and eventually predicted a Westbrook swap from LA.
Kendrick Perkins’ belief in a Westbrook-Beverley pairing probably isn’t shared by most
“He’s not known as a shooter, and even when he shoots, it’s a bull’s eye,” he said of Beverley.
“I think that’s the challenge of coexistence.
“Eventually you’ll have to find movement for Russell Westbrook, I don’t see this combination working for the Lakers.”
Still, Perkins, who won a title with the Celtics, continued to tout the potential of the combination.
“They could really play together. And if Russell Westbrook has the right mindset, Patrick Beverley and Russell Westbrook could well be the most dangerous backcourt in the NBA.”
It may be optimistic to think that Westbrook can change his ways – and recapture the mold of his younger years.
His steals per game have declined for four consecutive seasons as his defensive impact wears off, and he remains extremely inefficient off center and behind the three-point line.
He and Beverley playing together could go up in flames – if it’s been seen at all.