Thursday, April 15, 2010

A Pro Scout's Take on Kentucky's Patrick Patterson

Now that the dust has settled from a crazy good recruiting day, let's take a look at Kentucky's Patrick Patterson.

Here is a breakdown of Patterson by professional scout Brian Levy:

NOTE: Brian Levy is currently a professional basketball scout and consultant. He most recently served as the Director of Operations for the East Kentucky Miners, where he evaluated talent for 2 Continental Basketball Association Drafts. Brian resides in Louisville, KY. You can follow him on Twitter @bmwblball

Patrick Patterson

Projected Late Lottery to Middle of the 1st Rd

Patrick Patterson is the model of consistency. For 3 years his draft stock has been lingering in the mid first round range. Patterson returned to school after testing the draft waters last year, hoping that new coach John Calipari, and his dribble drive offense, would vault him into the top 10 prospects. It didn’t. But what did happen might be even more important: Patrick developed a jump shot. After not making a 3pt field goal, and only attempting 4, in his first two seasons, Patterson connected on 24 of 69 attempts, good for 35%. Important because most NBA teams employ a basic Pick and Roll/Pick and Pop offensive set, and having a big man who can knock down an open jumper is essential. Increasing his range helped to clear the paint for teammates Cousins and Orton to operate, but still keep his own overall field goal percentage up around 58%. Patterson is also a capable rebounder (averaging no less than 7rpg in each of his three seasons), a good free throw shooter (73% for his career), and a solid defender.

The main concern for Patrick, and possibly the reason why he was never considered an elite talent, is his limited athleticism. Over the last decade, power forwards in the league have become longer, leaner, and increasingly more athletic. A typical “4” in the NBA is just as likely to play on the perimeter as battle underneath. And it’s that dual threat that allows the Rashard Lewis and Lamar Odoms of the world to take advantage of mismatches by posting smaller players or pulling out larger, slower opponents. Patterson has not shown the necessary foot speed to defend those types of athletes 25 feet from the basket, instead his movements seem stiff and reactionary. Based on the footwork Patterson displays on the offensive end, he has the ability to improve this deficiency, and he’s going to have to if he wants to compete with the premiere power forwards in the NBA.

Overall, Patrick Patterson is ready to contribute in the NBA right away. His skill set is well suited for the pro game as he’s solid in every facet of the game and has the physical stature to stand up to the grueling schedule. Equally as important is Patterson’s demeanor. He has been asked to carry a team at times, and be a complimentary piece, and in both cases has shown he is a consummate professional and a mature leader. A team selecting in the middle of the first round that is a player or two away, will take a hard look at Patrick. Possible landing spots include Milwaukee, Chicago or Charlotte.

NBA Comparison: Carlos Boozer

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