Patrick Beverley has played nine NBA seasons and has yet to miss out on the postseason. The 33-year-old point guard has no plans for that streak ending in Minnesota.
“I don’t expect that to change,” he said Wednesday.
Beverley came to Minnesota last month in a deal that sent Juancho Hernangomez and Jarrett Culver to Memphis. The Timberwolves aren’t synonymous with the playoffs — they’ve been there exactly once since 2004 — but Beverley is supposed to be part of the solution to what ails the franchise.
“Mr. 94 feet” is a defensive gnat who isn’t afraid to get into the grills of opponents and provides a needed tenacity and, perhaps more important, a winning mentality.
“I’ve been on playoff teams. I’ve been on contending teams. I’ve been on a team that was trying to win a championship, on a team that teams don’t really prepare for. I kind of bring that type of niche to this team,” Beverley said. “We’ve got a nice young core, and to consistently get what you want to get from them every single day puts you in position to not only be successful this year but to be successful throughout the years. So, I think that’s the key.”
Minnesota brought in another point guard known for winning at a high level back in 2017, Jeff Teague. He had made the playoffs in each of his first eight seasons before arriving in Minnesota. To his credit, the Wolves did make the playoffs in the 2017-18 campaign, barely, but any culture established deteriorated in the coming seasons.
Beverley is tasked with making sure that doesn’t happen with this group.
“I play with everybody, so fitting in isn’t going to be a problem,” he said. “I think my biggest focus is seeing how locked in we can be each and every night consistently, over a preseason, a season and, eventually, if we’re doing the right things, getting to the playoffs. Basketball is basketball. That won’t change. But everything else in the middle, I think you can control that to put yourself in a position to win a lot of games.”
But he enters a situation in which the right things often done. As good as Minnesota looked in small spurts last season — it has the talent to play winning basketball — successful stretches were often followed by lackadaisical letdowns. The Wolves can’t afford those if they plan on achieving their stated goal of reaching the 2021-22 NBA playoffs. If they are indeed in contention to achieve such a feat this season, Beverley believes that will put a “good pressure” on his teammates who aren’t as accustomed to winning.
“Being able to get locked in every day, every practice. Being able to be locked in every shootaround. Limiting mistakes defensively. The togetherness as a team, I think that’s all a part of a winning culture,” he said. “I’ve been fortunate to be on really, really, really good teams, and I’ve been fortunate to be on teams where we were not so good but we made the best out of it. Each team, and the players, none of those characteristics changed. You apply those to the game, you’ll be successful.”
He wants to hold his teammates accountable, not by putting them down but by keeping them honest.
“If everyone’s accountable, we put ourselves in position to be successful,” he said. “I’m trying to win. I’m just trying to win.”