Since coming out of the University of Kentucky, Patrick Patterson has not quite exactly lived up to his lottery pick selection. Although Patterson isn’t a superstar, he has proven he can be a quality starter or role player for the right team in the right situation. In Patterson’s upcoming second year with the Oklahoma City Thunder, the question is what role exactly will he play.
Since trading Carmelo Anthony, the Thunder now have battle for who should be at the starting power forward position. Coach Billy Donovan has to decide whether to start Patterson or Jerami Grant. Personally, I believe coach Donovan should choose to start Patterson over Grant.
Patterson provides more versatility
Placing Patterson in the starting role would give the Thunder’s more options offensively. Opposed to Grant, Patterson can provide a more reliable pick and pop option for the Thunder. Patterson’s ability on offense to set a screen for Russell Westbrook or Paul George, then fading for an open three, provides spacing the Thunder needs on offense.
In retrospect if the Thunder start Grant, then the Thunder will have Grant and Roberson in the starting lineup, two players who aren’t viable threats from three. Meanwhile, Grant is solid in the pick and roll, but with Adams already occupying that spot, Grant’s options would be redundant. Better to use him with a different rotation.
Patterson can defend true power forwards
Grant’s advantage as an athlete should make him a more dynamic defender than Patterson at power forward because he can switch better in pick and roll defense. But on the other hand, Patterson is a better option as a defensive compliment to Adams.
Based on height and weight, Patterson and Grant are similar. Both are 6’9, but Patterson is 10 pounds heavier than Grant with a more powerful lower base. Patterson’s physical build enables him to guard true big men in the post, and his hoops IQ equips him to play along side other defensively strong players and raise their games.
When Patterson signed with the Thunder, he had in mind he would be the starter. But when the Thunder brought in Anthony via trade right before the season started it minimized Patterson’s role on the team. Coupled with that, Patterson had to rehab from injury through the first half of the season, which slowed his acclimation playing along side his new teammates.
This upcoming season if coach Donovan decides to start Patterson expect more production from him. Production closer to what Patterson was doing the last third of the season on both ends of the court.
Will Patterson finally be named the starting power forward for the Thunder?
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