Although a LOT has changed following that huge Anthony Davis-to-the-Lakers deal over the weekend (perhaps especially for the Bulls), one thing has not: Chicago’s need for a point guard. One way or another (draft, free agency, trade), the Bulls will need to pick up a point guard this offseason, but it’s also more unclear than ever whom that person will be.
For example, we can argue whether or not Lonzo Ball, now with the Pelicans, is still theoretically available to Chicago (and if they should even want him), if D’Angelo Russell could shake loose from the Nets long enough for the Bulls to woo him (and if they can even afford him), or if focusing on improvement through the draft should be the priority. But there might be an even more obvious fit, and he’s practically screaming for our attention: Patrick Beverley.
Beverley, 30, first officially popped onto our radar when The Athletic’s Darnell Mayberry reported the Bulls interest in the free-agent point guard at the end of May. And why not? He’s a solid perimeter defender, a respectable 3-point shooter, and the sort of affordable veteran who could help steward a young Bulls team out the other end of this rebuild.
Here’s part of what Eli had to say about him, when discussing potential free agent targets earlier this month:
The Clippers’ Patrick Beverley is a name that comes with a bit more confidence. The guy is a legitimate NBA veteran who has plenty of starting point guard experience. He isn’t the scoring type but rather focuses on facilitating and defense. Beverley just had the second-best rebounding season of his career with 5.0 per game, and he also had his second-best season dishing out assists with 3.8 per game. Initially, I wasn’t sold on him when he came into the conversation, but watching him play Durant in the playoffs helped pull me in.
Put simply: Beverley might not be the most exciting free agent target out there, but he clearly checks a lot of important boxes for the Bulls. And he’s also been talking about Chicago a heckuva lot lately.
If you remember, Beverley first perked up about his hometown when the Bulls hired their newest assistant coach Roy Rogers, who spent a year coaching Beverley in Houston. And it didn’t end there. Following up on that tweet, Beverley said he liked the photoshopped images of himself in a Bulls jersey, and then really started hammering it home via the Chicago Tribune: “I am Chicago. I’m from Chicago. I bleed Chicago. I really think I can help the city. I think I can save the city,” Beverley said. “I’m a Chicago kid. So of course I’m open to playing for the Chicago Bulls if that’s a team that’s interested in me.”
Although he made sure to balance his comments with the token it’s not going to be personal, “it’s a business” line, it’s not difficult to see his affinity for this city and team, in particular: “(The Bulls) got a good young core. Coach JB, he seems pretty cool. They just hired Roy Rogers and I’m real familiar with him. They got some young stars in the making. Of course Zach LaVine is a stud. (Lauri) Markkanen is going to be a stud. Wendell Carter Jr. is going to be a stud.”
Now, I know what you’re thinking: This guy thinks Jim Boylen is pretty cool, he must be nuts, but just focus on his comments regarding the upside lurking in the core of LaVine, Markkanen, and Carter. Not only is he correct in that assessment, that’s exactly where you’d want the focus of a free agent veteran like Beverley to lie. If the Bulls brought him in this offseason, the move would be just as much about winning next season as it would helping those young stars-to-be blossom. There’s an understated level of importance there, but he certainly seems to get it.
There’s also the fact that he’s not expected to break the bank, which helps in all the obvious ways (fewer and lower salary commitments preserves flexibility in the future), but also because he won’t fundamentally prevent the Bulls front office from doing whatever’s best for the team – be it in the draft or next season when players start over or under-performing.
I don’t want to overstate how good of a fit Beverley is, because it’s not like he’s some sort of dream candidate, but there is a lot to like and it seems like the feeling is mutual.