CHICAGO — New Bulls guard Patrick Beverley already has a pair of games circled on his calendar for his new team — and both are against the Los Angeles Lakers, his former squad.
While discussing his addition to the Bulls during “The Pat Bev Podcast” on Tuesday, Beverley made note that Chicago still has two games remaining against the Lakers, for whom he started 45 games this season. Those games could be critical in the push for the playoffs, and Beverley made his intentions for those matchups clear.
“Knock them out the playoffs,” Beverley said on his podcast.
The Lakers traded Beverley to the Orlando Magic ahead of the Feb. 9 trade deadline, and he agreed to a buyout with Orlando before signing with Chicago this week.
The Bulls play the Lakers in Los Angeles on March 26 and then host the Lakers in Chicago on March 29. Both teams are currently on the outside looking in of the play-in tournament. Chicago sits 11th in the East at 26-33, and Los Angeles is 13th in the West at 27-32.
“We got to get in the playoffs,” Beverley said. “So, excuse us.”
Beverley, who was born in Chicago, will join the Bulls for practice Wednesday.
“If you think I went hard for other teams, just imagine how I’m going to go hard for this one,” Beverley said.
In 45 games with the Lakers, Beverley averaged 6.4 points, 3.1 rebounds and 2.6 assists while shooting 40% from the field. During the podcast, however, he touted how much better he has been playing after a slow start to the season, including shooting 39.6% from 3 since the start of December.
His shooting could be beneficial for the Bulls, who are last in the NBA in both 3-point makes (10.3) and 3-point attempts (28.8) per game. But Beverley also said his impact goes beyond his on-court performance and is ready to make an imprint on the Bulls’ locker room as well.
“It’s hard to judge me from the outside stuff,” Beverley said. “A lot of people think what I do is put on a lot of antics and all that extra [stuff]. But reality, when I’m on your team and I’m your teammate, I’m a player and you’re my coach, you get a different vibe: ‘He’d do anything for the team.’
“You know me, I’m going to be on Zach LaVine ass. I’m going to give him all the energy he needs. Destroy people. Me and DeMar DeRozan, we good. I got a [pick-and-pop] 5 in [Nikola] Vucevic. I’m excited.”