After getting run out of their own building by the Dallas Mavericks in Game 7 on Sunday night, the Phoenix Suns were, unsurprisingly, the leading topic of conversation in the NBA world on Monday morning, as there were no games coming later that night to shift focus to just yet.
There was plenty to discuss from Game 7, from Luka Doncic’s dominance to Chris Paul and Devin Booker’s inability to create against the Mavs’ defense, and even some question about Deandre Ayton’s future with the Suns as he gets set to enter restricted free agency. Paul, as expected, was at the center of it all, as it was the latest early exit from the postseason for one of his teams, and ESPN brought in a longtime foe to discuss his troubles in the series, as Patrick Beverley showed up on seemingly every show on ESPN’s morning and afternoon lineup to gleefully torch the future Hall of Famer.
That performance, in which he called Paul a “cone” on defense who couldn’t guard anyone and said he and Paul George talked during Game 7 about how no one was afraid of the Suns, made Beverley the lead character of the NBA discourse by Monday afternoon. Damian Lillard called it “weird behavior,” while Matt Barnes took a more direct route when it was his turn to go on ESPN’s airwaves for NBA Today, lighting up Beverley for “clown” comments and reminding him of the place he holds in the game compared to Chris Paul.
.@Matt_Barnes22 was not a fan of Patrick Beverley's criticism of Chris Paul:
"There's a thin line between being critical and disrespecting. And I feel like what Pat Beverley did today to Chris Paul, was completely disrespectful and out of the line." pic.twitter.com/3q2xmJLrB8
— ESPN (@espn) May 16, 2022
“Chris Paul’s obviously going to take a lot of the blame, as Ramona said and as Chris knows, he didn’t play well from Games 3-7. He played terrible and he’d tell you that. But what I want to touch on real quick RJ is the disrespect I saw from Pat Beverley earlier today. As reporters, as part of the media, we have a job to be critical, but I think there’s a thin line between being critical and disrespecting and what Pat Beverley did today to Chris Paul was completely disrespectful and out of line. And Pat Beverley’s talking like he’s that guy. You’re not that guy. Chris Paul played terrible this series and his numbers are still better than your career numbers have ever been. So I just think you have to understand, he’s a 12-time All-Star — he played terrible — All-Defense nine times, seven-times first-team All-Defense, he’ll be a Hall of Famer.
“Pat Bev and I were similar type role players. They don’t talk about us when we go, they’re gonna talk about CP3 when he’s done, and I just think the disrespect we saw earlier today on ESPN shows needs to be checked cause he’s way out of pocket. … All he needed was the red clown nose, cause he was out there talking like a clown. And I just think to me, again, CP is a legend in this game. We were role players, so have some respect for guys. He did play terrible and he’d be the first to tell you, but the shots Bev took today were just out of pocket. I know no one else is gonna tell him that, so I’m gonna tell him that.”
I like that he made sure to jump back in over Richard Jefferson to get the clown comment in, realizing he’d missed making that point initially. What seems to be the biggest point of contention from Barnes, Lillard, and others is that Beverley didn’t just criticize Paul’s play but clearly had an axe to grind and went out there and insinuated that his feelings towards Paul were the same as those around the league. That is what made guys want to pump the brakes and reel Beverley in, because he certainly made it seem like he was speaking for the NBA as a whole and that appears to not be the case in full.