Let’s be honest, things haven’t been going great for the Chicago Bulls this season. They’ve struggled to recapture the success of last season, have failed to find an effective starting point guard, and appear on a trajectory to miss the 2023 NBA Playoffs…
… at least, all that was true, until Patrick Beverley arrived in Chicago.
In a statement game over the team that cut him for roster space just a month ago, Beverley was everywhere on the court last night and helped secure a huge 118-108 victory over the Lakers during LeBron’s big return to the court. Finally able to get even, Beverley made sure to subject the home crowd to their fair share of mockery along the way.
Beverley contributed a solid 10 points, 5 assists, and 4 rebounds last night, which may not sound like much, but when you consider that Zach LaVine was a one-man wrecking crew last night and no one Bull scored more than 17 points, it’s a result we’ll be more than happy to get from Pat every night so long as he continues to be an efficient shooter.
As solid as Beverley has been statistically, his energy and leadership to this team have been a thousand times more valuable. Far from the most talented player on any roster he’s ever been on, Beverley compensates by making winning plays and establishing a mental edge over opponents with his antics — the same antics that are as equally entertaining for us as they are frustrating for opposing teams, as seen here.
His energy isn’t just rubbing off on the other players in the Bulls locker room, as Chicago’s commentary crew seems to have caught the wave as well. Moments after Beverley taunts LeBron, Stacey King himself jumped on the opportunity to mock the Lakers with a hilarious Shannon Sharpe impression.
As frustrating as they’ve been to watch so far this season, the Chicago Bulls look like a brand new team with Patrick Beverley at the helm.
Don’t be mistaken, this wasn’t a random standout game for Beverley either, as he’s helped propel this team to a 10-5 record since the All-Star Break, with two of those losses coming due to unfortunate last-second buzzer-beaters. If things had gone just a little differently, the Bulls could have been 12-3 since the break and drawing even more attention as fast risers up the Eastern Conference standings.
Best of all, Beverley’s presence has helped LaVine play some of the best basketball of his career. Now that he’s allowed to focus purely on being a lights-out scorer, LaVine has averaged a Michael Jordan-esque 29.3 points on 67.3% true shooting over his last 15 games. There’s really no understating just how good LaVine has been lately, and he’s been the biggest reason why the Bulls are flipping the script and winning games.
If the Bulls can keep this up, they stand a very good shot of winning the play-in tournament and giving a top Eastern Conference team a tough fight in the first round. There’s no real reason to think that’s an unrealistic goal, as everyone on this squad seems more comfortable in their current roles than we’ve ever seen since this core was assembled in 2021.
And hey, even if it doesn’t all pan out like we want it to, at least Beverley had the chance to remind the Lakers’ home crowd that their team emphatically, unequivocally, absolutely stinks.
With eight games left to play before concluding the regular season, the Chicago Bulls are fortunate to have the league’s 11th-easiest remaining strength of schedule, with contests against the Bucks and Grizzlies looking the most daunting. Only 0.5 games back from the 8th-seeded Hawks and 9th-seeded Raptors, they could still very reasonably leap into a more favorable position in the play-in tournament to grant an extra opportunity to qualify for the 2023 NBA Playoffs.
Most importantly, however, the Bulls will actually be fun to watch over these final eight games, and it could all be thanks to potential back-to-back play-in tournament winner himself, Patrick Beverley.