Contributor's Note, by rook6980:
This is the eighth installment of a series of regular postings on Draft Prospects. This series will take a look at the top draft prospects for the 2010 NBA Draft in June. The plan is to have one or two a week, leading up to a flurry of activity the week of the draft. My DVR is crammed full of College games, and I'm watching and writing as fast as I can (between Wizards games).
We've now looked that the very top prospects.... all the guys that most Mock Drafts expect will be taken in the top few (4-5) picks; where, I assume, the Wizards will have their first first-round pick this June. I was going to skip the next level of guys, and do assessments of the lower end of the first round, where the Wizards have a second first-round pick they got from Cleveland (probably #30) - - but then I thought, hey sometimes these guys slip. We saw some terrific players slip from the their expected high or mid-first round slots in last year's draft (Darren Collison, DeJuan Blair, Chase Budinger). I believe some very good talent may slip to the Wizards at pick #30 and/or #34, so I'm not going to skip anyone. Let's hope that Ernie Grunfeld doesn't skip past another DeJuan Blair or Chase Budinger.
21 years old
6'8"; 223 lbs.
Patrick Patterson grew up in Huntington, WV, and helped lead his High School Basketball team to three straight State championships, the last one with help from teammate O. J. Mayo. He was a highly-recruited prospect and committed to Kentucky. He had two very good years playing for the Wildcats and declared for the 2009 NBA Draft after his sophomore season before eventually coming back for his junior year.
Patterson is listed at 6'8", but he may be closer to 6'7". As a strong and uber-athletic, but undersized PF, Patterson was not drawing much interest from NBA general managers. His post offense was very good in college, but I think the general consensus was that his lack of size would hurt him in the NBA. Returning to Kentucky for his junior year may have been the best thing for him. Kentucky added freshman players John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Daniel Orton and Eric Bledsoe, so Patterson no longer had to shoulder the load as the number 1 option. Also, up until this year, Patterson was primarily a low post player. With Cousins and Orton expected to do the heavy lifting in the post, Wildcat Coach John Calipari wanted Patterson to become a more versitile player and had him work on his outside shooting. Calipari asked Patterson to shoot more from the perimeter and even from the 3-point line in 2010. He diversified his game and as a result, Patterson may have played his way into the Lottery for the 2010 Draft.
As I stated above, Patterson may be closer to 6'7", but he is still extremely long (7'2" wingspan) and very athletic. He has terrific second (and third) jump ability, getting off the floor very quickly, allowing him to get to balls before the opponent. He's got huge, soft hands and catches everything within reach. He's a super high energy player with an NBA ready body. Patterson is extremely strong and and sometimes can simply out-muscle his opponent.
His first two seasons at Kentucky, Patterson polished his back-to-the-basket game; developing a nice right-hand baby hook shot. He's an explosive dunker and frequently outmaneuvers his opponent for low post position. He uses a variety of moves, and counters to get to the rim. He has a beautiful drop step, using perfect footwork to pin his opponent on his hip, and wheel to the basket. He's developed a variety of spin moves and pivots - and even has a nice fading, off-the-glass, turnaround jumper. He really understands how to establish and hold post position, and relishes throwing his weight around inside, usually finishing strong even through extremely heavy contact. Although he can finish strong with either hand, he needs to continue to work on his finesse left handed shots, including that left-handed baby hook, which is not nearly as smooth and effective as his right.
Patterson's ball handling is the weaker area of his game, although he's improved from his sophomore year. He can dribble in a straight line and is quick at changing directions, but sometimes gets into trouble in traffic. He has no trouble beating a slower player off the dribble, but has some difficulty against quicker players. It's an area of his game that he has obviously worked on and improved, and has even added some spin dribble moves and a nice left to right cross-over. I've seen a tremendous improvement from his freshman season, when he couldn't take two dribbles in a row without turning the ball over. I WILL say however that his "handle" is still a work in progress.
As I said before, Patterson has steadily improved his jump shot this year. He's worked hard and has good mechanics, with a consistent release point and follow through. His solid mechanics helped him shoot a respectable 70% from the Free Throw line. He now has a more complete game, able to face the basket and drive, or shoot that very effective and efficient mid-range jumper. He's even added some range, shooting about 35% from the three-point line this season. Late in the year, he was almost automatic from 12-18 feet - including some very pretty shots where he went "old school" off-the-glass from the wing.
For the year, he scored an extremely efficient 1.3 points per possession, demonstrating the improvement in his jumper. This is big news for Patterson, as it means that he is much more versatile. General Managers may overlook the fact that he's an undersized low post PF if they think he can switch to SF or play the perimeter "Stretch-4" that so many teams are looking for now.
Defensively, Patterson moves his feet well and has a good activity level. Overall, is a solid defender, but his lack of ideal size will hurt at the next level. He's quick enough to defend perimeter players, but the bigger power forwards will give him trouble in the post. He's got good timing on blocked shots, but sometimes is too aggressive, going for head and ball fakes. Patterson will definitely need to work on his one-on-one defense at the next level.
In previous years, Patterson showed that he was a good rebounder. As on offense, Patterson is willing to throw his body around on the inside, and this year, he did a better job of boxing out and improving his rebounding technique. But with his move to a more perimeter oriented game, his rebounding numbers slipped a bit (9.0 per 40 minutes). It didn't help that he played with Demarcus Cousins (16.8 rebounds per 40 minutes) and Daniel Orton (10.0 r/40). They almost certainly took away a couple of rebounds a game from Patterson.
- Long (7'2" wingspan), athletic big man
- Very strong, even by NBA standards
- Pogo stick jumper
- Good lateral quickness
- Huge hands
- Super-efficient scorer
- Plays physical
- Likes to bang inside
- Advanced post moves
- Excellent Touch around the rim
- Good finisher around the basket
- Improving jump shot
- Pick and roll potential
- Jump-hook shot
- Good Free Throw shooter
- Good intangibles: hard working, coach-able, experienced, mature, low mistake player
- Undersized for a Power Forward
- Needs to improve ball handling
- One on one post defense
- Left hand
- Falls for Head fakes
By all accounts, Patterson is one of the toughest players in the SEC. He's a tremendously hard worker, and competes hard all the time on both ends of the floor. I think he projects to be a "do everything" type of combo-forward. He can be a glue guy on a good (playoff) team, and he could be an even bigger contributor if he continues to work on his three-point range. Ultimately, his greatest value could be at SF if he can defend the smaller, quicker 3's in the League, because he would be a huge match-up nightmare as a SF on Offense.
Previous Draft Profiles:
|Derrick Favors||PF||6-9||246||Fr.||Ga. Tech||Undecided|
|Al-Farouq Aminu||F||6-8||218||Soph.||Wake Forest||Declared for the NBA Draft|
|Cole Aldrich||C||6-11||245||Jr.||Kansas||Declared for the NBA Draft|
|Greg Monroe||C||6-10||247||Soph.||Georgetown||Will stay in school|
|Ed Davis- Upcoming||F||6-9||225||Soph.||North Carolina||Undecided|
|Hassan Whiteside -Upcoming
||Declared for the NBA Draft|