Patrick Beverley has made the playoffs every season he has played in the NBA.
"And I don't expect that to change," Beverley said Wednesday as he was introduced as one of the newest Timberwolves, a team that has made the playoffs once since 2004.
Beverley, 33, will enter the season as the elder statesman on the Wolves and the player charged with helping change the dynamics of the Wolves' woeful defense — the entity that poses the biggest threat to Beverley's playoff streak. A few years before Beverley, Jeff Teague had made the playoffs every season in his career. That came to an end in Minnesota.
"My biggest focus is seeing how locked in we can be each and every night consistently, over a preseason, a season and eventually if we're doing the right things getting to the playoffs," Beverley said. "Basketball is basketball. That won't change. But everything else in the middle, I think you can control that to put yourself in a position to win a lot of games."
The Wolves acquired Beverley in a trade with Memphis for Juancho Hernangomez and Jarrett Culver from Memphis last month after the Clippers sent him to Memphis. Beverley spent the past four seasons in Los Angeles and the five previous seasons with the Rockets, where Wolves President Gersson Rosas scouted him overseas and coach Chris Finch was an assistant. He averaged 7.5 points per game last season and shot 40% from three-point range.
That consistency Beverley discussed has evaded recent Wolves teams, and Beverley said he is hoping to instill qualities to build that. When asked what he thought the cornerstones of a winning culture were, Beverley replied, "accountability and honesty."
"If we can be honest with each other, if we can talk to each other in a way where players both understand and get the most out of each other, without just talking back or backlash," Beverley said. "Accountability — if you're supposed to be the low man [on defense], be the low man. That's your job. If he's the low man, the person who's supposed to have his back, have his back. I think that goes from top to bottom."
Rosas said it is hard to swing a deal for a player like Beverley who "can change the whole defense," and the Wolves hope he can have a big impact on raising their defensive rating from 28th last season.
"We have to change the culture, change the environment and we have a guy that has the urgency, that fights, that'll do whatever it takes to make sure we're successful," Rosas said.
To do that on the defensive end, Beverley said the Wolves must become "students of the game" and master the nuances of playing defense at an NBA level.
"Understand what's going on. Understand positioning. Understand spacing. Understand timing and once you understand those things, you're a student of the game and then you're able to become a teacher," Beverley said. "When … you're able to teach the defense or teach that position, you put yourself in the position to be successful defensively."