If anybody sacrificed more for the greater good of his team last season, it was Patrick Patterson.
During the 2008-09 season, him and Jodie Meeks ran the show. They were relied on every night for scoring, rebounding, defense…pretty much everything.
But this prior year, the Wildcats had incoming freshman John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Eric Bledsoe, and Daniel Orton to carry a majority of the load. Patterson willingly relegated himself to role player, a guy who would carry the scoring loads some nights while deferring to others at times.
The lightened work load could prove to pay dividends for Patterson—he was able to develop his game in different areas and could be much more NBA-ready than he would have been if he had to be the premiere player on an average NCAA team.
NBA Position: PF
Weight: 230 lbs.
From an offensive standpoint, there may not be a more put together forward in this year’s class than Patterson.
His back-to-the-basket game was one of the best in college basketball last year. He loves to use his size to get position in the post, and can finish in a variety of ways. He loves to use a jump hook going to his left, but can also be efficient using up-and-under moves, and taking advantage of his length to go up above smaller defenders.
He also developed a strong jump shot over the past year. He attempted just four three-pointers his first two years at Kentucky, but put up 69 last season, connecting on 34.8 percent.
Playing alongside DeMarcus Cousins, he could roam away from the hoop and really stretch opposing defenses. While his three-point percentage doesn’t seem mindboggling, his mid-range game was much more effective.
This past season at Kentucky might have emphasized his most valuable asset: intangibles. He willingly took a lesser role in the offense and aided in the development of the younger players…most notably Cousins.
He’s an intelligent player with great character; he’s extremely coachable and wants to get better, not just for his sake but for his team’s as well. He’s not a ball-stopper—he doesn’t disrupt the flow of the offense by stopping the ball movement.
Much like Cole Aldrich, teams may know exactly what they’re getting out of Patterson. But in the right situation, his unselfish play and team-first attitude could be a real resource.
Despite his decent size and length, Patterson is somewhat of a tweener at the NBA level. He’s not physical enough to consistently take on bigger, stronger power forwards, but he lacks the overall athletic ability to keep up with more agile players as well.
His rebounding has been called into question on numerous occasions. The numbers dropped almost two a game from sophomore to junior year, but part of that could be contributed to the arrival of Cousins and Patterson’s shift to a more perimeter-oriented player. Still, teams need to see more physicality and tenacity in the paint from him.
Offensively, he lacks a face-up attack and the ability to create off the dribble. He doesn’t really command a double-team either, so he doesn’t help to create shots for his teammates.
And not that this is a weakness, but teams pretty much know what to expect from Patterson. If there’s a situation on the board where it’s between Patterson and a less-experienced player with more potential, he could be passed up.
NBA Comparison: Al Harrington
Draft Projection: Late lottery