ORLANDO — It was Sunday morning inside the practice gym of the Magic when the guy inside the No. 12 jersey with “Houston Basketball” printed across the front head-faked one way, went the other and finished at the rim with an easy bucket.
That’s just one of the moves that Rockets fans will be expecting to see out of No. 12 — Dwight Howard — next season. For now it’s Patrick Beverley, 10 inches less in stature, but feeling as if his head is in the clouds with the addition of his newest teammate.
The high energy point guard who began last season playing in St. Petersburg, Russia and finished as a starter against OKC in the playoffs already has visions of how the seven-time All-Star center can change the team.
“Mainly it’s about rim protection,” said Beverley after putting up 10 points, six assists and four rebounds in the Rockets’ win over the Sixers. “I know a lot of people think of Dwight Howard and the first thing that comes to mind is alley oops and impressive dunks, but his defensive rim protection is a big part of the puzzle.
“Adding him to our team is obviously a big boost. I feel like we had a a pretty good team and now this makes us that much better. It’s exciting and it makes you feel like you can’t wait for the season to start.”
“I tried not to get too much into all the talk and the rumors in advance, but I’m obviously happy that he’s here. I’m glad that it wasn’t prolonged. I don’t know if I would have been able to handle too much of that. I just know that our coaching staff, our front office, the whole organization, my family and friends are all real happy
“I don’t think it really changes my game or our game. We want to come in and do the things that we normally do. We want to continue to play our style of basketball. We play a game where we all try to feed off each other — penetrate and kick. Those alley-oop passes that you guys see on ESPN, they’e definitely going to be there. But really it’s about the rim protection more than anything.”
Beverley is happily giving up his No. 12 jersey to Howard and will wear No. 21 next season. He’s already @patbev21 on Twitter.
“It’s all his,” Beverley said. “Welcome to Houston.”