Beverley’s ‘strong’ approach noted in Bucks debut

MILWAUKEE — New Milwaukee Bucks guard Patrick Beverley did not waste any time making himself at home with his new team.

Beverley urged young players to sit right in front of the TV during the team’s film session prior to Friday’s 120-84 victory over the Charlotte Hornets. He grabbed a clipboard on the sidelines during a team huddle and appeared to be shouting directions.

Bucks coach Doc Rivers said he heard Beverley repeating defensive calls from coaches on the sidelines. Beverley even made a play-call on the floor, but mistakenly used a play Rivers said he hasn’t had in his playbook since their days with the LA Clippers.

“The way I go about things, I’m not going to make everyone happy,” Beverley said after scoring 6 points in 12 minutes in his Bucks debut Friday. “I’m going to upset some people. I hold myself to a high standard and I expect everyone else to do the same.

“My approach is very strong until you get to know me. But once you get to know me you understand, the only thing he does is want to win.”

Beverley made his debut a little more than 24 hours after he was acquired by the Bucks before the NBA trade deadline, a move he said surprised him, but also excited him. The Bucks acquired Beverley from the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for Cameron Payne and a 2027 second-round pick.

Not only was Beverley, 35, excited for the chance to play for Rivers — his coach from 2017-20 with the Clippers — once again, but he was also energized by the chance to compete for a championship with Milwaukee.

“It’s the only thing for me,” the 11-year veteran said. “The only thing left.”

From the moment Beverley checked into Friday’s game, with 2:28 remaining in the first quarter, the crowd in Milwaukee greeted him with a welcoming cheer, which got even louder once he knocked down his first 3-pointer.

And the Bucks turned in one of their best defensive performances of the season against the short-handed Hornets, who had eight players listed as out on Friday’s injury report, including the five players they acquired before the trade deadline.

Milwaukee held Charlotte to 84 points, its fewest allowed in a game since November 2019.

“He brought energy, he brought edge and just experience,” Bucks guard Damian Lillard said. “There were times where he just kind of directed some actions offensively … defensively in the huddle, he knows who he is, he knows what he brings to a team and he’s not shy about it. You heard his voice the moment he walked in.”

The Bucks welcomed the addition of Beverley for a few reasons. First, they believed he could help improve their defense, which ranks 17th in the NBA in efficiency.

“He is an impactful point-of-attack defender,” Bucks general manager Jon Horst said Friday afternoon during a conference call with reporters. “He plays with a physicality and a toughness that we think will help us.”

But the Bucks also believed Beverley’s presence in the locker room would be a boost, especially because of the extra edge and intensity he brought to the team immediately.

“He’s just positive energy,” Rivers said. “Holds his teammates and himself accountable. Really just wants to win and I think our guys see that.

“I bet they learned a little bit about him already. Its not just BS talk. He’s trying to get everybody to buy in and win.”

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