PLAYA VISTA – Patrick Beverley made it very clear.
“I’m going to go ahead and get his out the way because I’m going to be asked this a lot this year: I am not Chris Paul,” Beverly said Tuesday at an introductory press conference for the Los Angeles Clippers. “I reiterate: I am not Chris Paul. In saying that, he is not me either.”
The Clippers introduced six of their new players in a press conference at their practice facility. Four of those players – Beverley, Sam Dekker, Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell – came in the deal that sent Paul to the Houston Rockets. The other two players introduced were rookies Jawun Evans and Sindarius Thornwell.
Los Angeles traded Paul last month, and has faced questions about how the new look of the team will function now that the face of the franchise, the emotional leader and the fulcrum of the offense is gone. Clippers coach Doc Rivers said the team’s style will be predicated on ball movement, which he has preached at other coaching stops.
“If you look at my work historically, we were more of a ball-movement, cut and pass-the-ball team,” Rivers said. “That’s what we’re gonna get back to doing.”
Beverley said playing under coach Mike D’Antoni in Houston will help the new Clippers to play the style Rivers wants.
“Playing under D’Antoni was a blessing. Playing under James (Harden) is a blessing,” Beverley said. “All the mileage and IQ that I learned there, I’m very fortunate to be able to bring it here.”
In Houston, Beverley was asked to play more of a defensive role. Lawrence Frank, executive vice president of basketball operations, called Beverley and “instigator” and “agitator” on the court, but also mentioned his talent.
“It seems like every time the bar is raised, he meets it,” Frank said of Beverley.
Dekker, who was drafted No. 18 by Houston in 2015, said Beverley will have no problems handling any pressure he might face from essentially replacing Paul in the lineup.
“Pat’s gonna be fine,” Dekker said. “Chris is great, but Pat’s also a very good player and he’s got his skill set and his tools he’s gonna bring to the table. He’s a prideful guy. He wants to show that he can win games here, too, and help a good team out.”
Williams said there will be “no adjustment,” for the team because the new Clippers players never played with Paul.
“We don’t really care what happened before,” Williams said. “We never played with him. We’re not part of that history with the Clippers. We have the opportunity to come in with a clean slate and see how they build this team out in training camp and we’ll go from there.”
Beverley said the team’s transition period won’t be as difficult because it has “a chip on its shoulder.”
“Of course, we’re counted out. I’ve been used to that,” Beverley said. “Like I keep telling everybody, it won’t be easy. It’s gonna be extremely hard. Winning in this league is extremely hard. But I think with the group of guys that we have, from the bottom to the top, that everyone wants to win and wants to win the right way. That’s the biggest key in this league.”
But when asked what the ceiling of this iteration of the Clippers could be, Beverley said he didn’t know.
“I’ll let you know at the end of the season,” Beverley said.
Williams is returning to Los Angeles after playing with the Lakers for part of last season. The Lakers traded him to Houston in February in exchange for Corey Brewer.
Williams was only in Houston for a few months, but said all of his things were still there. He sold his home in Los Angeles and moved his family to Houston.
“I shouldn’t have moved,” Williams said. “I should’ve kept my place a couple months longer and stayed patient, but I didn’t. All my stuff is in Houston, so I gotta get it right back.”
But Williams managed to find a place in Marina Del Rey around where he lived previously.
Williams said he feels the Clippers signed him to fill the role left vacant by Jamal Crawford signing with the Minnesota Timberwolves in free agency this offseason. Crawford won two Sixth Man of the Year awards with the Clippers.
Williams also said he’s looking forward to playing for Rivers.
“I’ve always enjoyed playing for coaches that have played the game, that understands scheduling, understands how the body works and understands how to get the most of out his players,” Williams said.