While Phoenix Suns’ fans fret over Devin Booker’s hand, the general manager has to shore up the point guard spot regardless of who is playing shooting guard.
Over the last two days, we covered the potential of adding Spencer Dinwiddie or Cory Joseph.
Today, we focus on Patrick Beverley.
To recap, right now at point guard, the Suns only have two G-Leaguers from last year — Isaiah Canaan and Shaquille Harrison — and a pair of rookies in Elie Okobo and De’Anthony Melton.
That’s not going to get anything done.
Local reporter John Gambadoro reported a couple of days ago that the Suns have dialed back their targets from guys like Damian Lillard to lesser players on expiring deals.
All three players are on expiring contracts of varying size. Joseph ($7.9 million) and Beverley ($5 million) will be unrestricted free agents next summer, while Dinwiddie ($1.6 million) will be restricted.
That puts the Suns right back into the point guard market next summer when a veritable plethora of starting caliber playmakers hit the market, including Kyrie Irving, Kemba Walker, D’Angelo Russell (restricted) and Ricky Rubio, among a dozen or more that are better than anything the Suns have right now or DID have (i.e. Brandon Knight).
But back to 2018, and this latest rumor.
Pat Bev is the oldest of the three at 30, by far, but is the most experienced as a starting point guard.
CoJo and Bev are considered good defenders but poor/limited playmakers, while Dinwiddie provides the most upside offensively but is not as known for his defense.
Can the Suns acquire any of these guys?
Throughout this week, we unveil exclusive scouting reports and negotiations with the GMs of the Nets, Pacers and Clippers blogs.
It’s always great to hear THEIR side of the story rather than just focus myopically on our own opinions.
Today is Patrick Beverley day
Robert Flom is the managing editor of ClipsNation.com, our SB Nation brother covering former Lob City now being hailed as Clamp City?
He shares his thoughts on our burning questions.
1. There’s a glut of point guards on the Clips. In what order would you prioritize PG minutes for Beverley, Lou Will, Milos, Avery Bradley and rookies SGA and Robinson?
Robert Flom, ClipsNation: For purely point guard minutes, I’d probably go in the order: Pat, Shai, Milos, Lou Will, Jerome, Avery. I don’t regard the latter three as point guards unless the Clippers were really in a pinch, though Lou certainly does have the ball in his hands a fair amount regardless.
In terms of winning games this season, Pat Beverley is the best point guard on the roster. And since that’s what the Clippers want, I’d prioritize his minutes first. However, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander absolutely needs minutes to develop, competitive season or no. And if the Clippers decide they want to tank/rebuild, obviously he’d get top priority.
2. Considering Beverley’s contract status ($5 million for 2018-19, still non-guaranteed), does that change your priorities on minutes next season? Which would you keep/release/trade?
Robert Flom, ClipsNation: Not particularly. I think the Clippers’ plan is to compete next season, and If they are to make the playoffs, Pat Beverley will be a big reason why. His status as an expiring veteran does mean he might not be around for the long haul, but I think he likes Los Angeles, and the Clippers love him. It honestly wouldn’t surprise me if he stuck around the Clippers after this season.
My personal preference to thin the roster is to trade Milos. Look, the guy is fun to watch, and he legitimately helped the Clippers a lot last year. But he’s injury prone, he’s already 30, and the Clippers don’t have a ton of minutes available at the guard positions. Even better would be trading Avery Bradley, but he has a larger contract than Milos, and was just signed this summer, so I don’t think the Clippers can deal him yet anyway.
3. What would the Suns love about Patrick Beverley next to Devin Booker?
Robert Flom, ClipsNation: He provides every intangible that a young, up-and-coming team would want next to their superstar player. Pat is intense (in a good way), loves mentoring younger players, and is a leader on and off the court. The Clippers were noticeably energized by his mere presence last year, and I think he’d do the same for the Suns.
In terms of on-court skills, he’s probably less of a shot-creator and playmaker than you’d like next to Booker, but his defense would certainly help make up for Booker’s shortcomings in that area. Pat is also an underrated offensive player—he’s a knockdown spot-up shooter, and he’s perfectly capable of running a good pick and roll. Really, he’s a pretty good fit on the Suns.
—Beverley doesn’t rack up many assists, but made 40% of his threes in two of last three seasons, 38% for his career.
4. What would the Suns hate about it? Or, how would the Suns struggle?
Robert Flom, ClipsNation: I do think their offense would be a bit undergunned with Beverley at point guard (though not worse off than what they have now). Booker is a precocious talent, but the Suns still lack much offensive creation elsewhere, barring an outstanding rookie season from DeAndre Ayton (which I personally am not expecting). The bulk of playmaking duties would once again fall on Booker’s shoulders, and I’m not sure if he’s quite ready for that. Additionally, while Beverley is a very good defensive player, he’s not big enough to switch constantly in the way that the Warriors and Rockets do.
5. From the Clippers point of view, why would they even consider trading Beverley this month versus February?
Robert Flom, ClipsNation: They wouldn’t? Really, I’m not sure why they’d trade Beverley now. They’ve been hyping up “Clamp City” (with him, Bradley, and Luc Mbah a Moute) all summer, and he’s widely regarded as the leader on this team. Again, all indications are that the Clippers want to compete this year, and Beverley is at worst the 4th best player on the Clippers.
There are only two reasons I can see them trading Pat now, rather than February. First, they get an unbelievable offer that they just can’t pass up. Which I don’t see happening. Second, they don’t think his rehab is going all that well, and that he’ll actually decline in value once he gets back on the court. Again, rather tenuous. I just don’t see it happening, though I’ve certainly been wrong plenty of times before.
6. What should the Clippers demand in return for Beverley, to convince them to trade him to the Suns? Would it take more than a salary match for buyout (Darrell Arthur) and future second round pick considering the roster situation of needing to drop a roster spot or two?
Robert Flom, ClipsNation: It absolutely would. The roster situation, at least in terms of Pat, is a non-issue. There are a bunch of candidates who are on the block well before him (Jawun Evans, Wes Johnson, Sindarius Thornwell, and Milos Teodosic come to mind). His defense, leadership, and outside shooting are simply not replaceable on this Clippers’ team. Also, his contract is quite cheap, which never hurts. I think the minimum return for him would be matching salary and a future 1st (lottery protected is probably fine), or a legitimate prospect.
To be quite honest, while Beverley is the better player, I think Milos Teodosic provides some of that playmaking that the Suns could use. Having a true maestro like him at the reins of the offense could really help the Suns’ young guys develop, and it would just make for a very fun team. Also, for him, matching salary and a 2nd or two would probably be sufficient.
Well, well, well. I guess Suns fans aren’t the only ones thinking Patrick Beverley is the key to winning games.
What do you all think of Milos, then?