Let Patrick Beverly and Timberwolves have fun

by Martin Rogers
FOX Sports Columnist

Go ahead and laugh at Patrick Beverly. Mock him, if you must. The mockery of his big celebrations. Making fun of him as a player trying to make up for less than average NBA Talented with extra aggressiveness and a lot of noise.

chuckle away. You are in good company. But if you’ve gone down this path, just know this: Just as with LeBron James, Shaquille O’Neal, Charles Barkley, or millions of others, the joke is on you.

It’s not in the Beverly, and it’s not in the Minnesota Timberwolves. Yes, to get the infamous hype about winning a 7 vs 8 game in play, that’s a solid nod to the NBA popularity guide that’s too cool for school.

But when you’re a team that has made post-season only once since the days when Kevin Garnett was in town, being with the cool kids isn’t something you have to worry about.

And when you’re Beverly, a 6-foot-1, 42 draft pick who found a way to stay in the league for 13 years — and you just beat the team that got rid of you, and you just fulfilled a playoff promise for your new club — curb joy because social media might not like it won’t Be a part of your thinking.

“Beverly’s not a great player,” Chris Broussard of FOX Sports said on FS1’s First Things First. “But his leadership in the dressing room, the energy he brought in, was huge for this team.”

Pat Beverly leads the T-Wolves to their first playoffs since 2018

Pat Beverly leads the T-Wolves to their first playoffs since 2018

Nick Wright, Chris Broussard and Kevin Wilds share their thoughts on Patrick Beverly’s celebration and how they expect the Timberwolves to perform against J’ Morant’s Memphis Grizzlies.

Beverly is a severe pain in the butt for whoever encounters it. The higher the stakes, the more difficult it is to try. He is the main instigator of his team. He will talk, talk, talk and spur opponents with mental punches. He will ditch the ball and fight for every loose ball. He will throw himself into battle.

And sometimes, like against the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday, he’ll produce something inspiring, like a late steal to ice the game as part of the Timberwolves’ strong comeback in the fourth quarter.

Minnesota isn’t the most talented team in the playoffs. In fact, it may be one the least Talented. They’d be sorely underdogs against the Memphis Grizzlies, with FOX Bet listing Ja Morant & Co a 7-point favorite in Game 1. But bet your last dollar on this…in a struggle whatever the outcome.

This is how the Minnesota group does it. What was a young and somewhat soft lineup before Beverly’s arrival found his voice. Anthony Edwards followed his 30-point showing by jumping at the scorers’ table with Beverly on Tuesday, prompting O’Neill and Barkley to devour “We Are the Champions” and “One Shining Moment” with a claim.

The Timberwolves fans appreciated the spirit, squealing with delight as Beverly threw his shirt toward them, while James prepared his sarcastic ‘I laugh so hard I cry tweet.

Yes, the Timberwolves greeted their post-season qualification with as much joy as some teams do when they win a championship.

But the No. 7 ranked Western Conference does things her own way and makes no apologies for it. This is not an annual playoff contender. Let them enjoy. Save the wisdom.

When Beverly arrived from the Clippers early in the season and was promised a playoff spot, nothing was close to a given. But believe it, and if you think their position in parentheses is just because of Karl-Anthony Towns or Edwards or D’Angelo Russell, you don’t see the whole picture.

Beverly saw a hole he could fill and his brand of vulnerable energy fit perfectly into a place that couldn’t be diminished by success, because he had none. That’s exactly why none of the snark-casm outsiders mattered this week.

The irony that James took a shot online after the evil Los Angeles Lakers dropped out of the top ten completely is another debate entirely, but no one, no matter who they are, has the right to look down their nose at the Timberwolves and their flight here.

Throw in jokes if necessary, but be aware of what you’re laughing at. You laugh at a team that dared to trust itself, who outlived itself, and used ancient virtues like teamwork and spirit, instead of relying on the strength of the stars.

Yes, once they achieved their primary goal and did so with a comeback full of drama and courage, they allowed themselves to enjoy the moment.

This is the atmosphere the NBA needs more, not less.

Martin Rogers is a columnist for FOX Sports and author of the FOX Sports Insider newsletter. You can sign up for our newsletter here.

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