Turning heads in the D-League, and subsequently becoming a household name in the NBA, often comes down to mastering (and/or merely finding) one's niche.
In a league already filled with some of the best athletes in the world, the next LeBron James and/or Kevin Durant isn't always necessarily on the horizon. Instead, surviving in the NBA is about how an up and coming player can hold his own by complementing such stars in ever unique ways.
That's the name of the game for young NBADL athletes. Less than a year and a half after first hitting the minor league hardwood, Houston Rockets' guard Patrick Beverley appears to have already mastered such a craft.
Players alongside superstars like James Harden and Dwight Howard make this an absolute must.
On January 7th, 2013, Beverley was donning a uniform and hitting the hardwood for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers. Fast-forward to June 2nd, 2014, and the promising youngster is already being recognized with NBA All-Defensive Second Team honors.
As fate would have it, the 25 year old is just the second minor league alum to accomplish such a feat. Whereas the likes of Jeremy Lin, Danny Green, and Chris Andersen have risen up as NBA playoff heroes and/or some of the more popular players the league has known in recent years, Beverley joins just Avery Bradley of the Celtics (2012-13) in achieving such an accomplishment.
Such an honor is quite well deserved. Beverley is a defensive pest who knows how to lock in. What's more, he isn't afraid of taking on any type of challenger that may stand in his way. He's an absolute hound. In addition to what he can do physically, the youngster has also displayed an ability to get into the head of his opponent with ease, notably throwing them off their game early on.
Through 56 games this season, Beverley averaged 10.2 points, 3.5 rebounds, 2.7 assists, and 1.4 steals per contest.