RTC NBA Draft Profiles: Patrick PattersonPosted by jstevrtc on June 23rd, 2010
Over the course of the next month until the NBA draft on June 24, RTC will be rolling out comprehensive profiles of the 30-35 collegians we feel have the best chance to hear their names called by David Stern in the first round that night. There won’t be any particular order to the list, but you can scroll back through all the finished profiles by clicking here.
Player Name: Patrick Patterson
NBA Position: Power Forward
Projected Draft Range: Late Lottery
Overview: John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins may have been flashier and grabbed more headlines, but if you ask people around Lexington who their favorite Wildcat was from this past season, Patrick Patterson’s name will come up more than you’d expect. While his numbers were impressive enough (14.3 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 1.9 BPG), that’s not what Kentucky supporters use as the reason for their reverence — and reverence is the right word, there. They’re quick to point out that those numbers were actually down from the previous season (17.9 PPG, 9.2 RPG, 2.1 BPG), and the reason they were down was because he was fine with scoring less and yielding the spotlight to his aforementioned young teammates, as that’s what the team dynamic required. They love talking about how he finished his bachelor’s degree in three years, while at the same time going far above the call of duty when it came to community service and public appearances during his time in the Bluegrass. In short, people in Lexington love this guy, and why shouldn’t they? He played three seasons that can be credited to three different head coaches; he was recruited by Tubby Smith, played two years for Billy Gillespie and a final one under John Calipari. Basketball wasn’t fun at UK for those first two years for the players or the fans, and especially not for Patterson, who didn’t even get to play in an NCAA Tournament. You couldn’t blame Patrick if he had sulked in his dorm room for a while and then caught the first bus out of town. Instead, he flourished — in the classroom, on the court, and in the community, knowing if he kept working hard that sweeter days would eventually come. Those sweeter days arrived last season. And the next one is Thursday night in New York.
Will Translate to the NBA: Patterson’s physique got more impressive each year at Kentucky, the biggest and quickest transformation coming last summer when he moved out to California and worked with a personal trainer. His body is therefore NBA-ready, and it also speaks to his work ethic. He’s also shown that he’s willing to eschew personal glory in favor of the betterment of the team, and there might not be a better “character guy” in the draft. He added a jump shot over the summer before last season, then hit it consistently during the year, a move that greatly increased his appeal to NBA scouts, and it goes nicely with the fair range of post moves he already possesses. Whether it’s him who scores or not, good things tend to happen when he gets the ball in the post; he’s a nice interior passer and easily finds the open man on the perimeter. He was an underrated defender down low at Kentucky and seems to love going body-to-body with opponents who are trying to overpower him.
Needs Work: He never had to do it much in college, but NBA scouts would like to have more evidence that Patterson can turn, face a defender, and break him down with a move to the hole. There were also times in his second and third seasons in which he seemed to vanish for a half or even a whole game for no real reason. And despite his improved overall physical condition and fairly solid defensive fundamentals, he looked a tad stiff in spots when guarding his man away from the basket, so his foot speed could use some work — he might be a four, but at the next level he’ll find himself guarding the other team’s three-spot about half the time. Finally, Patterson wasn’t as strong on the defensive glass last season, but it’s unclear if that’s because of reduced effort in that area or because he was playing alongside Cousins.
Comparison Players: With a similar size, improved offensive skill set, willingness to excel on defense, and work ethic, Patterson is eerily congruent to the Sacramento Kings’ Carl Landry. If he’s able to develop his game facing the bucket, he could certainly become a David West-type of player. Both Patterson and West also strongly embrace the “team first” ideal.
Best Case Scenario: If he takes the next logical step and develops his game further as described above, Patterson could have a tremendous career. He’d then be a triple scoring threat and a fairly solid defender. It’s easy to see how his personality and fan-friendliness could win over supporters in his new city. The one or two new skills he needs are certainly attainable for him, and, at that point, All-Star appearances would be well within range.
2013 Projection: Among his Kentucky teammates in the draft, Patterson will likely see the most early minutes, aside from John Wall. It’ll take Patterson a couple of seasons to get used to the skill jump inherent in going from college to the NBA, but the early minutes and his desire to improve will pay off by the early part of his third season. He’ll be looking to assert himself more on offense and have coaches encouraging him to do so. By the time his third season is over, assuming he continues his current trajectory, he’ll have moved from young role player to important component for whatever team drafts him.
Best NBA Fit: There’s actually a very good chance that Patterson could go to New Orleans (11th pick) and play with David West, since West’s backups, Darius Songaila and Ike Diogu, aren’t exactly killin’ it. Memphis (12th pick) has an even more pressing need at the four, at least in terms of star support; Zach Randolph starts and plays a lot of minutes, but the next two fellows in the depth chart at PF are Darrell Arthur and Steven Hunter, and they don’t inspire much fear. Patterson would fill that hole nicely for either team, but a trip to N’awlins might be better for his long-term development.