Coming into this season, the Houston Rockets were still unsure of who would be on the team for the future. The organization threw money at Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik last offseason to start the rebuild, but it wasn't until they acquired James Harden in a trade a few days before the season opener that the Rockets finally started to head in a new direction.
Midway through the season, the Rockets picked up Patrick Beverley, a late second-round draft pick in 2009 by the Los Angeles Lakers, who never had a chance to play in a real NBA game until this season.
Beverley spent the last four years bouncing around from Greece and Russia to the D-League. He played with the Miami Heat in the 2010 Summer League, but was waived before the start of the season.
In early January, the Rockets helped Beverley buy out his contract with Spartak in Russia and signed him to a three-year deal with the team (via AOL Sporting News).
Although the Rockets ended up losing to the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 2 of their opening-round series, Beverley proved that he belongs in the NBA, even though he's been overlooked time and time again.
When Jeremy Lin went down with a chest contusion and was unable to play for the rest of the game, Beverley stepped up on both ends of the floor. He held the starting point guard spot until the end of the game and viciously defended Russell Westbrook with everything he had.
Beverley finished the game with 16 points, 12 rebounds and six assists on an efficient 7-for-13 shooting from the field. Westbrook, on the other hand, finished with 29 points, five rebounds and four assists.
Whoever knew Beverley would make it onto a playoff team, let alone go head-to-head with one of the most explosive and talented players in the league?
By no means did Beverley shut down Westbrook, but he made him work hard enough and got into his head on multiple possessions down the court. Westbrook finished on just 10-for-26 shooting with four turnovers while going 1-for-7 from beyond the arc.
He helped ignite a Rockets comeback late in the fourth quarter with his rebounding and tenacious defense, even though he couldn't lead them past the finish line.
Not only is it amazing that a rookie point guard could perform admirably against the best team in the Western Conference, but it's even more incredible when you look at his personal history.
He never had a chance to prove himself on any NBA team, so he had to take his talents overseas to possibly gain some recognition from NBA scouts. He was awarded with a first team All-Eurocup selection in 2012, along with the Eurocup MVP. Additionally, Beverley averaged over 13 points per game in a short stint with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers of the D-League, which probably netted him his first NBA contract.
On the big stage of the NBA playoffs, Beverley proved that not only did he belong on this team, but that he could be a valuable contributor to the Rockets in the long run.
At just 24 years old, Beverley still has a lot of room to improve. He is set to earn approximately $300K this season and $800K next season, so it definitely looks like the Rockets front office struck gold once again.