Patrick Beverley believes the Los Angeles Lakers would make the Western Conference Finals with a defined leader. More specifically, he believes he is the leader the franchise needs.
Speaking with Stephen A. Smith on ESPN's Stephen A's World, Beverley said that if he was a free agent and joined the Lakers, the team would make the playoffs and reach the conference finals.
"No discredit to LeBron James, but he's doing so much," Beverley said. "... Who's their leader? Who's telling LeBron, 'Hey LeBron, you gotta be low man, bro. That ain't your help out. You gotta X-out.' No one's telling him that. Not on a consistent basis. I'm gonna tell everyone that because I want to win."
Beverley's comments come after he said during an appearance on ESPN's This Just In with Max Kellerman that he would love to join the Lakers if he was a free agent to "play with a great" like James and "be able to pick his brain." He also said he would enjoy playing alongside Russell Westbrook.
Beverley is under contract with the Minnesota Timberwolves through the 2022-23 season, so there's always a possibility he joins the Lakers for the 2023-24 campaign. However, both James and Westbrook will be unrestricted free agents in 2023. If they leave, it's unclear if Beverley would still be interested in joining the Purple and Gold.
That said, Beverley could be a welcomed addition to just about any team hoping to contend for an NBA title. While he's not necessarily an offensive impact player, he's a three-time All-Defensive selection and his passion, intensity and effort, are unmatched by most players in the league.
Beverley has helped transform the energy in Minnesota and with that helped the franchise finish with its best record (46-36) since the 2017-18 campaign. Even Timberwolves head coach Chris Finch was quick to laud the 10-year veteran while speaking with reporters in February.
"He's a guy that we value greatly, a guy that we want to go forward with," Finch said. "His leadership has been phenomenal. We knew it was going to be good, it's been even better than expected. His production and play on court has been really, really good. Changes personality on our team in a lot of ways."
Though he's known for his lockdown defense, he also averaged 9.2 points on 40.6 percent shooting from the floor during the 2021-22 season, in addition to 4.6 assists in 58 games.
While most would dispute Beverley's assertion that the Lakers lacked a leader during the 2021-22 season, the team seemed to suffer from a lack of chemistry thanks to injuries to James and Anthony Davis, and inconsistency from Westbrook.
Beverley could help bring a more competitive mindset to this Lakers squad, but the franchise undoubtedly has a lot more work to do this summer as it looks for a new coach and aims to become a championship contender again next season.