Now that the NBA Draft Lottery is out of the way, it's time to start profiling the Pacers possibilities for 1st Round picks. The profiles will follow the same format as my 2nd Rounders with a little bit more detail. The Pacers received the 10th pick in the Lottery but several possibilities for trading down and/or acquiring multiple picks have been floating around. For that reason I'm going to examine anyone who might help the Pacers, and then discuss within the profile any steps which might need to be taken to acquire that player. Here's who we'll be looking at today:
Patrick Patterson - PF - 6'9.75" 237lbs. - University of Kentucky
- Listed at 6'8" through most of his college career, there were some concerns about Patterson's true height. However, at the NBA Draft combine he measured out at 6' 9.25" in shoes, with a 7' 1.25" wingspan. He weighed in at 240lbs. with just 5.3% body fat. Simply put he has tremendous physical tools.
- In addition to his size Patterson is quite mobile. He has reasonable speed and quickness for a frontcourt player.
- Patterson is a very efficient and capable offensive player. Although he had fewer opportunities this season, he was still one of the most effective post scorers in the country, with terrific ability to finish around the basket. His eFG% was an eye popping 61.0% this season.
- With powerful center DeMarcus Cousins joining him at Kentucky, Patterson made a concerted effort to diversify his offensive output. This season he added a very consistent jumpshot to his arsenal, with range stretching all the way to the college 3PT line, where he shot 34.8%.
- Patterson is a very intelligent and controlled player. He rarely forces bad shots, and his 1.3 TO/40 is the best of all this year's draft prospects, regardless of position. He is very comfortable finding teammates spotting up or cutting to the basket.
- Patterson displays terrific intangibles, work ethic and leadership capabilities. He is actually graduating from Kentucky, despite having spent only three years there. He has improved steadily each season, and is apparently extremely coachable. In addition he was the only lottery prospect to compete in the basketball related drills at the NBA combine. This demonstrated a considerable amount of humility as well as confidence in his game.
- Despite his physical tools and motor, Patterson is an average rebounder, both offensively and defensively. His numbers this season probably make him look worse than he truly is, as he shared the floor with DeMarcus Cousins, one of the most dominant rebounders in college basketball. Perhaps this is something that can be improved with work on fundamentals and awareness, but his ceiling in this regard is not as high as some of the other frontcourt prospects.
- His one weakness offensively is being able to put the ball on the floor and take larger defenders to the basket. This is less a weakness of ability than a weakness of opportunity. Against college competition, and with his role on the team, this was a weapon he never was asked to develop. With his athleticism and work ethic, it is not out of the question to see this become a skill he refines in the NBA.
- Patterson also has some room to grow defensively. He was a capable shot blocker in college but doesn't project to be quite as effective in the NBA. He needs work on his fundamentals when defending on the perimeter as well as in the post. He has the physical tools, quickness and strength to be a capable defender in each area, but he hasn't displayed the small techniques to maximize his ability.
- His FT% took a nose dive this season down to 69.2%. He will need to get this number back up into the high 70s, where it was during his sophomore season.
How he can help the Pacers -
- Patterson has the skills, physicality, and mental attributes to walk through the door next season and start at power forward for many NBA teams. The problem is that the Pacers already have a logjam at this position. Troy Murphy should enter the season as the starter, and Hansbrough and McRoberts will be returning, looking to fill minutes off the bench. Patterson has more upside than any of them, and for that reason will get a good look from the Pacers. The best case scenario for Patterson would be biding his time until the likely trade of Murphy and his expiring contract. Patterson could then become the starter being backed up by some combination of McRoberts and Hansbrough.
- One thing that should make Pacers fans nervous is that Patterson's most glaring weakness, defensive rebounding, is also a huge team weakness. This may become an even bigger issue when factoring in that Murphy, one of the best defensive rebounders in the league, would likely need to be moved to make room for Patterson.
- In the end he is a skilled and motivated warrior on the basketball court. He is among the most polished and NBA ready of the lottery prospects, and will be a huge talent upgrade for the Pacers. The team really needs to add depth and talent across the board. It may be in their best interests to jump on Patterson and worry about minutes and rotations later.
- Patterson is projected to go towards the end of the lottery, so if the Pacers decide they want him they will probably need to stay where they are and take him with the 10th pick.
More Information -