Patrick Beverley finds his groove behind the arc — and with the ball in his hands — since joining the Chicago Bulls
Patrick Beverley tries not to take it personally when he’s left wide open behind the 3-point arc.
But games like Saturday’s 113-99 win over the Miami Heat make it hard. Every time the ball swung to Beverley, the defense sagged inside the arc, giving the Chicago Bulls point guard a wide swath of space to line up and fire off his shot.
He missed the first few chances but finally made the Heat pay in the second quarter with four consecutive 3s as the Bulls built a 27-point lead.
After the Bulls held off the Heat for a second straight win, Beverley hoped his five 3-pointers on the night served as a reminder that he should command a close-out.
“I’m 38% career from the 3 over a decade,” Beverley said. “So no matter how well I shoot it, I think it’s the look of me that people want to leave me open. But I want to keep letting them do it.”
Beverley’s self-assessment is accurate: He’s shooting at a 37.5% clip behind the arc for his career with 1.5 made 3s per game. That percentage has dipped slightly to 35.9% during his short stint with the Bulls, but he’s still one of the more consistent long-range shooters in the regular rotation — ahead of Nikola Vučević (34.9%), DeMar DeRozan (34.8%) and Ayo Dosunmu (31.5%).
But Beverley rarely absorbs the same defensive pressure and double teams as DeRozan and Zach LaVine. He understands this dynamic — and also sees it as a benefit for the starting unit.
“They see me as a defensive guy,” Beverley said. “They don’t see me as a 3-point shooter, but my numbers are up there with the best of them. So you’ve got to take away something.
“Obviously I play with a lot of great guards. I’m fortunate to play with DeMar and Zach. No one person can guard them, so you’ve got to take away something. I guess it’s Pat Bev — and I like it that way.”
Regardless of the attention he draws from defenders, Beverley, 34, feels he has been able to play at the top of his game since joining the Bulls on Feb. 21.
He’s used to earning praise for his defensive acumen, and for good reason — Beverley is third on the roster with 6.4 rebounds per game and leads the team in blocks per game. But Beverley said he has found comfort in Chicago on both sides of the ball.
After taking over the starting point guard role for the last 11 games, Beverley has averaged four assists, third on the team behind DeRozan (5.1) and LaVine (4.1). He attributes that impact to coaching.
Beverley has been effusive in his praise of coach Billy Donovan since arriving in Chicago, citing a relationship that spans back to facing each other in the SEC when Donovan coached Florida and Beverley played for Arkansas. In Donovan’s system, Beverley feels he has been able to thrive as the starting point of the Bulls offense.
“Doc Rivers was the first coach who actually gave me the ball and let me play, and Billy was the next one,” Beverley said. “When you’ve got a coach who has faith in you like that, you definitely don’t want to let them down.”
The Bulls are 7-4 since Beverley signed, regaining their play-in tournament positioning with a 1½-game lead over the Indiana Pacers and Washington Wizards for 10th place in the Eastern Conference.
But Beverley’s response to the record was purely critical: “It should be 9-2.”
That same focus on improvement — rather than celebration — will be an important motivator for the Bulls over the final 12 games.