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Patrick Beverley Names Luka Doncic as Toughest NBA Player to Defend

Adam WellsSeptember 24, 2021

AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall

In just three seasons, Luka Doncic has established himself as one of the best players in the NBA. 

According to Patrick Beverley, the Dallas Mavericks star is also the hardest player in the league for him to guard. 

Overtime @overtime

“Easy, so far it’s been Luka” 🗣<br><br>Pat Bev on the toughest player to guard 🚧<br><br>(via <a href="https://twitter.com/patbev21?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@patbev21</a>) <a href="https://t.co/OvA0YkzCT0">pic.twitter.com/OvA0YkzCT0</a>

This does mark a change for Beverley, who as recently as July 2020 named Damian Lillard as the most difficult player to guard. 

"Dame is one of the reasons why I went into the weight room," Beverley said on the JJ Redick Podcast (h/t Colin Ward-Henninger of CBS Sports). "I told my guys, 'Hey, I gotta get faster laterally. I don't feel like I'm fast. I can't keep up with the speed right now. I don't know if I need to lose weight. I don't know if I need to get stronger. I don't know if I need to hire a new f--king team. But I need to get f--king faster.'"

Doncic has success against some of the NBA's best defensive players in his three seasons. For evidence of his dominance, he dropped 36 in a March 31 game against the Boston Celtics with Marcus Smart and Jayson Tatum attempting to stop him. 

Smart was a first-team All-Defensive Team selection in 2018-19 and 2019-20. 

The 6'1" Beverley knows a few things about playing lockdown defense on the perimeter. The 33-year-old has been named to the All-Defensive team three times in his career. 

The 6'7" Doncic has finished in the top six in NBA MVP voting in each of the past two seasons. The Slovenia native has averaged 28.3 points, 8.7 rebounds and 8.7 assists in those 127 regular-season games. 

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