NBA Hoops

New Los Angeles Lakers guard Patrick Beverley ‘super excited’ to play alongside Russell Westbrook

New Los Angeles Lakers guard Patrick Beverley 'super excited' to play alongside Russell Westbrook

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — Patrick Beverley still was sweating from a workout at the Los Angeles Lakers‘ practice facility when Russell Westbrook delivered an assist.

Westbrook interrupted Beverley’s introductory news conference with reporters to toss him a towel, making sure his new backcourt teammate looked good.

“Love that brother,” an appreciative Beverley said. “First dime of the year.”

Westbrook put aside any rivalry with Beverley and was the only Lakers player to attend Beverley’s first official appearance with the team. While it remains to be seen how this point guard pairing might work alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis, Westbrook and Beverley set the tone Tuesday that they are ready to team up, embracing each other after Beverley was done talking.

“Super excited,” Beverley interrupted when asked about his relationship and fit with Westbrook. “… I was asked this question two, three years ago, [about] someone I always wanted to play with and [Westbrook] was the first name. I have [known] Bron since I was a baby, a rookie in this league, so obviously I want to play with him.

“But a player with that competitive spirit, that fire, that will, that dog, that nastiness, that grit, to have a running mate like that, I have never had that. So I am super excited to see where it goes. Obviously like any relationship or any marriage, things, we are going to have tough conversations. That is what comes with winning, but I am excited about those conversations, I am excited about the practices. I am just excited to be able to compete with someone like that.”

Westbrook and Beverley are used to competing against each other, and it got contentious at times. During Game 2 of the Oklahoma City Thunder‘s playoff series against the Houston Rockets in 2013, Beverley collided with Westbrook’s knee while going for a steal. Westbrook had to have surgery to repair a lateral meniscus tear in his right knee.

Nearly a decade later, the two are teammates and were laughing together after Westbrook’s towel pass to Beverley. New Lakers coach Darvin Ham said he won’t be afraid to start both point guards together if that helps improve the team.

“If they play defense,” Ham said. “We’ve got a while. That’s still a ways off, but definitely. People get caught up in the starting lineups a lot, but you look at who is finishing games. Those starters, they’re out there to set that tone for the entire team throughout the game.”

“But, I’m not scared of that,” Ham added. “It’s definitely…

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