'It's Patrick Beverley': Iman Shumpert not surprised by criticism of Chris Paul

Duane Rankin
Arizona Republic
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Iman Shumpert thought Patrick Beverley calling Chris Paul a traffic cone in criticizing the 12-time All-Star’s defense was out of line, but he wasn’t surprised, either.

“It’s Patrick Beverley,” the former NBA player said on Vlad TV.

Last week on ESPN, Beverley said Paul “can’t guard” during his appearance on “Get Up” with Mike Greenberg and Stephen A. Smith.

“CP can’t guard nobody man, everybody in the NBA knows that,” said the Timberwolves veteran guard the day after Dallas eliminated the top-seeded Suns by winning Game 7 of this year's Western Conference semifinals in Phoenix by 33 points.

“What we call him? Cone. You know what you do with cones in the summertime. You got a cone. You make a move. What do a cone do?”

Greenberg responded with “stand still” in describing a cone.

“Exactly,” Beverley said. “He’s a cone, stop playing. Everybody knows that. Everyone knows. It’s just that you all don’t want to accept it because it’s CP.”

Shumpert, 31, who played 10 NBA seasons, clarified what he believes Beverley meant in saying “everyone knows” about Paul’s play on defense.

“He’s not saying we all feel like this, but it’s like, bro, stop acting like you all don’t know how Patrick Beverley feels about you,” Shumpert said. “He’s going to tell you when the jump ball goes up. He’s going to tell you, bro. This ain’t the first time Chris Paul has ever heard that.”

Shumpert said the sensitivity of today’s society escalated the situation, but admitted Beverley took it to another level with his comments.

“I didn’t know he was going to go on a rant that hard,” Shumpert said. “Like to call him a cone, it was funny, but whatever beef they had since he pushed shorty, that’s clearly what that was, but we’re not surprised, are we? He’s always going at people. Pat don’t lie about it.”

Beverley shoved Paul from behind late in Game 6 of the 2021 Western Conference finals Phoenix won over the Clippers in Los Angeles to advance to the NBA Finals.

Ejected from the game, Beverley received a one-game suspension without pay.

The Suns felt Beverley’s shove was a breaking point for the Clippers and their aggressive and intense guard.

“It hurt,” Paul said after Game 6. “It stings.”

Nearly a year later, Beverley didn’t mince words when talking about Paul.

“Ain’t nobody worried about Chris Paul when we play the Phoenix Suns,” Beverley said. “Nobody in the NBA, and I’m just letting you know how NBA players feel. He’s finessed the game to a point where he gets all the petty calls, all the swipe throughs at the end.”

Beverley then said Paul gets away with things on the court he couldn't.

May 10, 2022; Phoenix, Arizona; USA; Mavericks guard Jalen Brunson (13) draws a foul on Suns guard Chris Paul (3) during game 5 of the second round of the Western Conference Playoffs.

“You see the replay against (Jalen) Brunson, hit him on the shoulder, hit him in the mouth, ref don’t call anything,” Beverley said. “If that’s me, oh, review it. Oh, flagrant one. If that’s him, they don’t call it. So, let’s not get it twisted. He should’ve fouled out. He can’t guard. He literally can’t guard.”

In reaction, Shumpert says Beverley, 33, was just being himself.

“P Bev will play you 1-on-1 in his street clothes,” Shumpert said. “I love it, though. That’s that dog that everybody doesn’t understand, trying to figure out how dude is still in this. He’s sick. He doesn’t care. He’s competing. You want beef, you want whatever, cool, but I want to challenge you to do that.”

Shumpert added Paul probably won’t “entertain” Beverley’s comments and will just focus on preparing for next season, but he knows a surefire way for the Suns' 37-year-old point guard to hush critics like Beverley.

“The closing game, C just going to have to kill,” Shumpert said. “There’s no other way to do it.”

For subscribers: Yes, Chris Paul failed miserably. But here's why the Phoenix Suns guard deserves better

Suns' Chris Paul (3) makes a jumper against the Pelicans during Game 6 of the first round of the Western Conference Playoffs.

Paul has come up big in closeout games as recent as the first round of this year’s playoffs when scoring 33 points on a perfect 14-of-14 shooting in Phoenix’s Game 6 win in New Orleans.

Paul set an NBA record for most made field goals without a miss in a playoff game, but he scored just 10 points in 31 minutes in Game 7 versus the Mavs.

“People are always going to have something to say,” Shumpert added.

Paul has made the NBA All-Defensive team nine times and led the league in steals six times in his first nine NBA seasons, but he had his struggles on defense against Dallas.

Beverley is a three-time All-Defensive team selection known for his in-your-face style of play and speaking his mind.

So while he believes Paul is a future Hall of Famer, Beverley drew more attention for not only criticizing Paul’s defense, but saying he isn’t losing any sleep before facing him.

Read more: 5 reasons Phoenix Suns should be sick Golden State Warriors up 3-0 on Dallas Mavericks

Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul (3) looks to pass the ball as Minnesota Timberwolves guard Patrick Beverley, top right, defends against him in the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game Monday, Nov. 15, 2021, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn)

“I’m going to Steak 44 over there in Phoenix,” said Beverley as Steak 44 is a restaurant right across the street from the Suns’ practice facility.

“I’m going to have a nice, little wine, probably sweat it out during the pregame shootaround, and get ready for Chris Paul. Steph Curry, I’m going to bed at 8 o’clock. Mom, don’t call me. My girl, don’t call me.  I’m locked in right now. It’s two different monsters. That’s all.”

Neither Paul nor Beverley made the All-Defensive first or second team this year, but Paul received 21 voting points (two first-place votes, 17 second-place votes) to Beverley’s nine points (one first-place vote, seven second-place votes).

Players received two points for each first-place vote and one for every second-place vote as 100 global media members voted on NBA’s All-Defensive teams.

Have opinion about current state of the Suns? Reach Suns Insider Duane Rankin at dmrankin@gannett.com or contact him at 480-787-1240. Follow him on Twitter at @DuaneRankin.

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