NBA bubble fits Clippers’ Patrick Beverley to a ‘T’
It wasn’t long after Clippers guard Patrick Beverley checked into the Gran Destino Tower on Disney World’s campus last week that he began broadcasting to his 472,000 Instagram followers a tour of the hotel room that could be his home for the next three months.
He showed off snacks, sage, a gaming system and, opening a closet, a stack of more than a dozen unopened packages of Polo-brand white T-shirts he’d brought. They were not all for him. On a campus with several hundred isolated NBA players living out of suitcases, without new clothes, Beverley saw a business opportunity.
“I like to wear a lot of T-shirts,” Beverley told reporters Tuesday. “I try to put one and two together. I’m pretty sure NBA guys like to wear T-shirts also. I just wanted to make everything available for everyone.”
That Beverley created a side hustle in Orlando, Fla., was not surprising to those familiar with his story. A 2009 second-round pick who played in Russia, Greece and Ukraine before making his NBA debut in 2013, Beverley has relied on hustle, and exploiting any edge possible, to carve out a place in the league. The financial security gained from last summer’s three-year, $40-million contract did little to change that approach. It was why he said he spent the NBA’s nearly four-month hiatus “trying to make myself the best weapon possible.”
“For me, basketball is a year-round sport,” Beverley said. “I don’t know anything about taking off. I just been doing what I’ve been doing throughout the last couple years — working on my body, working on my craft, working on my mind.”
The Clippers shipped players exercise equipment and hosted remote workouts during their time away in the hopes that others would remain similarly focused on keeping their edge. The results are now being seen, with the Clippers on Tuesday practicing for the fourth time since their arrival in Orlando.
“I think overall we have shown to be in really good shape,” coach Doc Rivers said. “It’s still obviously not like basketball shape. I’ve been pleasantly surprised there.”
Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard spoke to reporters for the first time since March and is ready to continue the team’s momentum in Orlando.
Guard Landry Shamet, center Ivica Zubac and forward Marcus Morris have yet to arrive but those who are at Disney look “really good,” Rivers said.
“Are we sharp? No, of course not,” he said. “But we’re good. We’re picking up stuff. We don’t need to, like, install things. We need to review things.”
Practices have included stretches of high-intensity, five-on-five play, rookie guard Terance Mann said, but with one week left before the Clippers’ first exhibition game, and two weeks before their first “seeding game,” July 30 against the Lakers, the team can afford to gradually increase the intensity.
“We really haven’t done much different than a normal practice during the season where you would do more skeleton work and less play,” Rivers said. “We’re all ramping up our play. I mean, listen, everyone keeps talking about injury. There’s nothing you can do about that. You practice, then we’re going to have scrimmages just like every other team. You hope you get through it. That’s the only way you can prepare for the season, is by playing.”
Once practices have ended, the team has tried to get accustomed to their surroundings in the so-called bubble. Forward Paul George and center Montrezl Harrell went fishing Sunday, a day off for players. Rivers brought a bicycle (though it has yet to leave his room) and noted that movies, bowling, fishing and other entertainment are provided. Still, this doesn’t feel like a road trip and no one has tried to claim otherwise.
“I don’t know how many conversations I’ve had with veteran players where I’m walking to our meal room where you see another veteran player from another team,” Rivers said. “We look at each other and say, ‘Who would have thought?’”
Coach Doc Rivers and star Lou Williams say Clippers are ready for the NBA restart after deciding to pursue a title and call for social reforms.
Beverley, too, brought comforts from home to make the stay easier. But basketball alone might be enough.
“You just get to hone in and focus on basketball, kind of gets you some quality time to yourself away from friends and family,” Beverley said. “For some people it’s a good thing, for some people it’s a bad thing. For me, I’m going to take advantage of this idle time and use it to my advantage.”
After undergoing surgery in March to repair a ligament in his right hand, Mann said he has resumed playing full-contact basketball and that the hand “is doing great right now.” The injury lingered throughout Mann’s first season but surgery was recommended after it was aggravated March 8. “It was probably a six- to eight-week type deal just because we had so much time, so I took care of it,” Mann said. “I kind of went the long route because we were in quarantine.”
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