RENO, Nev. — The biggest change for Patrick Beverley in his first NBA D-League game was being able to understand all that was said by of his teammates.
For better part of the past four years, he’s been a global traveler: playing in the Ukraine, Greece and Russia until signing a contract this week with the Rockets.
“I enjoyed it all,” Beverley said after playing for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers in the D-League Showcase. “It was a great experience to play in different countries, to experience different cultures and to make some great friends along the way. But after a while, it was just time to come home.
“My goal was always the NBA and what I was waiting for was the right situation and the right team to show the interest and give me the opportunity.”
The Rockets have been keeping tabs on the 6-foot-1 point guard, who most recently had played for Spartak St. Petersburg in Russia, averaging 15 points.
A second round pick of the Lakers in 2009, Beverley played six games with the Heat in the 2010-11 season. The Rockets had tried to sign him several times in the past couple of seasons, but could not come to terms. This time Beverley was willing to pay a big part of the buyout from his European contract to make the jump to Houston. His three-year contract has the second and third years as team options.
“His defense has always been strong. He’s got speed and athleticism and can just create havoc going to the basket,” said Gersson Rosas, Rockets vice president of basketball operation and general manager of the Vipers. “He’s somebody that we think might be able to help us going forward.”
At this point, the Rockets see the 24-year-old Beverly as insurance this season for a backcourt that has been relatively injury free and like his potential more than Scott Machado, who was waived from the roster.
“I wouldn’t have a problem using him in situational minutes right now,” Rosas said.
Beverley had no problem with being asked to make the transition to the NBA with an assignment to the D-League.
“With all the different places I’ve played and traveled to, this is just another road trip along my path,” he said. “After one game, I can’t really say that Europe or the D-League is better. There are some real good players in both places. In Russia, I played with Andrei Kirilenko and Alexey Shved. There are some real players in the D-League, too. The difference is the tempo is faster here. But the game is still the game. I just think it’s time for me now.”