We've explained how the Washington Wizards could sign some free agents if they so choose. Now, let's take a look at some of them. We'll shy away from the big big names like LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Carmelo Anthony, since y'all know about them. Next up: Patrick Patterson
Team: Toronto Raptors
Type: Restricted free agent.
Last year was ____: A tale of two seasons. He was viewed as nothing more than a throw-in in the Rudy Gay trade and was headed to a Toronto team poised for a rebuild. In Sacramento, he was brought in to space the floor for DeMarcus Cousins, but the problem was he couldn't buy a shot from the perimeter. He connected on just 18 percent of his threes in the month of November and his deficiencies on defense were only further overburdened playing behind a backcourt that gave up dribble penetration at the drop of a hat.
After all that, he blossomed in Toronto. He shot 41 percent from three following the trade and made a name for himself in Dwane Casey's free-flowing system. Their dual point guard lineups featuring Greivis Vasquez and Kyle Lowry meant death to opposing defenses, and Patterson became the main beneficiary as the pick and pop threat around their side pick and rolls.
He did a bit of everything as a shooter. He's equally proficient slipping screens and darting to the corner as he is using his quick release in catch-and-shoot situations. This is what made Toronto so dangerous post-Rudy Gay, even if there was some overlap between him and Amir Johnson.
And that overlap certainly deprived him of playing with Johnson full-time. The duo were lights-out defensively, holding offenses to just 98 points per 100 possessions when they saw the floor together per NBA.com's stats page. Patterson's at his best playing alongside a rangy big man that allows him to stay in the paint rather than getting dragged out into an endless amount of pick and rolls.
He's proven to be a reasonable deterrent against back to the basket players. Per Synergy Sports, opponents shot just under 33 percent on post-ups against him last season. He's bulky, which allows him to absorb contact, and he has the discipline to keep his hands up and not bite on shot fakes.
But defending in space is his Achilles heel, which is almost always a turn-off for power forwards. He knows where he has to be, but lacks the execution because he's not incredible quick laterally, and isn't athletic enough to serve as a help defender.
Why he'd fit well in D.C.: There's no one better at finding three-point shooters than John Wall, which bodes well for Patterson, who has to prove he can be a dynamic shooter for more than six months of a season.
He's also a perfect match for Beal, who will continue to make strides as a ball handler. Patterson sets strong screens, and makes himself open on short rolls to the rim or as he pops out to the perimeter. This will be huge for Bradley, who was used a ton in side pick and roll sets. Defenses already respect his shot out of the pick and roll, and he's shown a deadly hesitation dribble that repeatedly got him into the lane in the playoffs. Getting that big who can drag bigs to the perimeter will only open the floor up even more.
Why he won't: As mentioned above, he was hit or miss as a shooter last season. Washington may have to be cautious about investing too much into a shooting big man that doesn't really do much else on offense.
Likely price tag: Given his age and skillset, it'll take the full mid-level exception to pry him away from Toronto, if not more. They want him back, and even he has gone on record saying he'd like to return, but it'll be tough to turn down a lucrative deal from his hometown of D.C. to play with former college teammate, John Wall.
Verdict: I wouldn't hesitate to throw money at Patterson. Randy Wittman's system will help him defensively and I have a lot of faith in Wall to keep Pat's shooting percentages up. This would be a huge get for the Wizards, who can continue to taper down Nene's minutes during the regular season.