Now that the finals are over, there is not much left for NBA fans to do but impatiently wait for the NBA draft to roll around on June 22. The Blazers enter the draft with three picks (15, 20, 26) but how will they use them? Today we will take a look at potential prospect Justin Patton.
- Height: 7’0”
- Weight: 226
- Wingspan: 7’3”
- Shoots: Right
- Position: C
- Age: 20
- Projected draft range: 14-27
- PPG: 12.9 | Per 40: 20.5
- RPG: 6.2 | Per 40: 9.8
- APG: 1.2 | Per 40: 1.9
- BLK: 1.4 | Per 40: 2.3
- STL: 0.9 | Per 40: 1.4
Patton is a legit 7’0” with very good mobility. Not many big men with his height and length can get up and down the floor as well as he does and it would be easy to see him as a major factor in transition and pick-and-rolls. As Patton gets older, he should be able to put some weight on his long frame without losing too much athletic ability. Defensively, Patton showed flashes of very quick feet out on the perimeter and had some effectiveness defending the rim (1.4 blocks per game) The per 40 numbers of Patton’s 2016-17 season, overall, were remarkable, which gives the impression that he could become an NBA asset in the future.
Patton had an excellent rookie year with Creighton after red-shirting the 2015-16 season, but is still very raw. A lot of his rebounds came because he had a longer reach than his opponents, and he has not learned yet how to get good positioning on the glass to make a him a real threat. Patton only reached double-digit rebounds three times all season. That length advantage led to some put-back points and blocks that may not be there at the next level. Fouls are a concern, but that is typical for young big men. The small sample size of 3-point shooting was great (53.3 percent on 0.4 shots per game), but it may be a little bit of smoke and mirrors when his free throw percentage was actually lower (51.7 percent). Strength will also be a key factor going forward. Patton must not only gain strength, but learn to play stronger once he adds the muscle.
Patton went from red-shirting the 2015-16 season to becoming one of the focal points of a tournament-bound Creighton team. His poor showing in the tournament (3-12, eight points, and five fouls) was a letdown, but overall his numbers were very good. The jump Patton made from his redshirt year to now is remarkable, which bodes well for his work ethic and coach-ability.
Patton is a raw prospect but seems to have all the tools mentally and physically to be a very good NBA player in the future. The rebranded “G-league” may be in play for Patton who needs to see some game time in order to help him progress. But if a team can be patient, there is every reason to believe he will be worth the wait. Long, seven-footers that run the floor well, and are quick enough to guard the perimeter are in high demand. Since Patton fits that bill, he should be able to carve out a nice NBA career for himself.
Portland probably would not reap benefits from Patton for a few years and, considering their current “Need to improve without taking on extra cap” situation, the fit seems unlikely. If salaries are moved and cap is no longer an issue (also not likely), then Patton would be a great piece to back up Jusuf Nurkic in the long run. There are few teams in the NBA that couldn’t use a piece like him for their future, but unfortunately for Portland, the fit does not make a lot of sense right now.
Do you want Patton in a Trail Blazers jersey next season? Which player would you like us to analyze next? Tell us in the comments below.