Drafted in the first round (14th overall) in the 2010 NBA Draft by the Houston Rockets, Patrick Patterson has spent his first four years in the league trying to fit in. Standing at 6'9, he is an undersized power forward who can stretch the floor with his shooting ability. He has high energy and the tools to be impactful on both ends of the court, but hasn't been given the right opportunity. He bounced around the league during his first three years, spending time with Houston and Sacramento. It looked as if Patterson might continue trying to find his role, but that all changed on December 9, 2013.
On that day, Patterson was traded to the Toronto Raptors in a seven-player deal involving Rudy Gay. Patterson would assume a role off the bench – something he thrived in right away with the newborn Raptors. He has been a big part of the team's recent success due to his play on both ends of the court. As each game approaches, he seems more and more comfortable with his role on the team and increasingly makes an impact.
In 15 games with the Raptors this season, Patterson is averaging 9.0 points per game and 4.6 rebounds per game. In his last five games, he is averaging 14.2 points per game and 6.4 rebounds per game. He has scored in double digits in four of his last five games and added a season-high 12 rebounds in a win over the Brooklyn Nets Saturday night.
Patterson spent his college career at the University of Kentucky. He played three seasons there playing under the likes of Billy Gillispie and John Calipari. As a freshman, Patterson burst onto the scene averaging 16.4 points per game and 7.7 rebounds per game, however he would have his season end short as he suffered a stress fracture in his left ankle. Instead of making the jump to the NBA, Patterson stuck around for his sophomore season.
During his sophomore season, Patterson averaged 17.9 points per game, 9.3 rebounds per game and 2.1 blocks per game, while shooting 60% from the floor. After a sensational season, Patterson entered his name into the draft, but later withdrew it and decided to come back for his junior season.
In his junior season, Patterson's numbers dropped. He averaged 14.9 points per game, 7.6 rebounds per game and 1.2 blocks per game. From a statistical standpoint it might look like Patterson took a step back, however that's not the case. Even though his stats weren't as high as the previous year, Patterson played the leadership role and was the glue player on a team consisting of John Wall, Eric Bledsoe, and DeMarcus Cousins. After his junior season, Patterson decided to enter the draft and as mentioned before was selected in the first round by the Houston Rockets.
It seems like the decision to stay in college really benefited Patterson as he has become quite a polished player at the young age of 24. He makes smart decisions with the ball and has an underrated passing ability. Patterson is a true professional on and off the court and his leadership has helped the Raptors remain composed through adversity over the course of the last month.
Due to the impact that he has provided the team over his first 15 games, it would be ideal if the Raptors could hang on to Patterson for years to come. He has a qualifying offer of $4.3 million for next season if the Raptors choose to bring him back. At that price range, it will be hard to find someone who does the things that Patterson does. He is a very versatile player and hopefully he is a Raptor for many years to come.
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