When the Sixers take a punch, Patrick Beverley is ready to punch back
FORT COLLINS, CO - Not much surprises Patrick Beverley these days.
How could it? He's played 12 years in the NBA. Prior to that, he spent a full hand of years traveling through Europe in hopes of landing his next gig as a professional basketball player.
In many ways, that prepared him specifically for this season, playing under Nick Nurse for the first time in his NBA career. So far, nothing Nurse has shown him is foreign.
"It's European style. Mixed with, obviously, the game that's in the NBA. You know I played in Europe four or five years with some really good coaches. So, it's the right fit with the shoe. It's nothing that I haven't seen and I haven't preached, especially defensively. So, it's easy," Beverley told reporters after Tuesday's practice in Moby Arena, on the campus of Colorado State University.
Those prior experiences might've prepared him for the concepts Nurse wants to install with this team. But, it would be difficult for anyone to prepare for what Wednesday's practice might bring.
James Harden is expected to arrive in Colorado for the second day of training camp, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported just before reporters were invited into the practice gym on Tuesday.
It's anyone's best guess what the mercurial and disgruntled Harden will do. The theory is that he can make more progress towards his goal of being traded to the Los Angeles Clippers by showing up and making things uncomfortable for everyone than he can by staying away from the team.
Regardless of Harden's intention, Beverley expects the Sixers to welcome the star point guard.
"Happy [that Harden is expected to join the team], as I'll continue to say. It's hard to replace or get anything that symbolizes a James Harden. So, hell yeah, catching a vibe here. You know. We'll welcome him with open arms," Beverley said.
"Obviously, things you have to deal with. The players and upper office, it's kind of out of our hands. But, as far as teammates, hell yeah, we can't wait to see him."
While nothing seems to surprise Beverley, there is one thing that stood out to him on Tuesday - the size of the reigning league MVP.
"He makes the game very easy for you. You don't have to do a lot. He requires so much attention offensively and defensively. He's huge, he's big, like, real big man. So, it makes my job very easy," the former Bulls guard said.
Just as Beverley hasn't seen anything he hasn't already experienced before, he expects that his teammates know exactly what he's bringing to the table despite not all having played with him before.
"I've been in this league 12 years, I've played and competed with most of these guys. So, they know what I bring to the table. It's actually, it's not even hard. It's actually easy. So, I've been fortunate to be able to come to a good group, a good coach. Time to see how it plays out on the floor," he said.
If they already know what he brings to the table, Beverley has no reason to walk the line between being laid back and being his aggressive self with a new team.
"Oh, hell no. I couldn't be myself if I had to walk the line. The best version of Pat is being Pat," Beverley said. "So, competitive, high spirit, team everything, Just let the dominoes fall where they fall, you know?"
He knows that that competitive spirit is a significant factor in why he's with the Sixers. The morale amongst the fanbase is low. The skeptics are reaching new decibels with the loud chatter.
The Sixers thought they added enough toughness to overcome the second round demons that have plagued this era when they signed PJ Tucker last offseason.
They were wrong.
But, maybe another coat of toughness and intensity will help solve the problem.
"I wouldn't say 'problem'. 'Problem' is a negative word. I say 'adversity'. In this league, you're going to get punched in your mouth a couple times. You got to go out and punch back. So, I think that's the biggest thing," Beverley said.
"Obviously, it's hard as hell to win in this league. Teams like Milwaukee and Boston, who are always up there every year. Obviously, never can count out Miami. So, this league is tough. But, just because you lose a game or two in the playoffs doesn't mean it's the end of the world. And that's what I'm here for."