After redshirting and sitting out his first year in college, center Justin Patton made a name for himself in his one and only season at Creighton University.
Patton checks some important boxes to be an effective contributor in the modern NBA offense. Patton measures in at 6-foot-11, 229 pounds with a 7-foot-3 wingspan. With his size and athleticism, he can run the floor aggressively and put pressure on opposing big men to keep him out of the paint, which can be difficult for bigger and less mobile players.
Various teams have taken notice. Basketball Insiders’ writers currently have Patton slotted between the 15th and 25th pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. Patton confirmed a few teams are showing significant interest in him.
“I had an interview with the Magic and I think it went really good. So, that’s good, “ Patton stated. “I have several teams – Denver, Chicago, Milwaukee, Cleveland, it’s a lot of teams. Left a few out. Dallas, Portland.”
A quick review of Patton’s game footage from college shows that he can be an effective roll man in pick and roll action at the NBA level. Serving this role has allowed various post players to add to their effectiveness in the NBA (think Tyson Chandler, DeAndre Jordan and Nerlens Noel) and could be a major asset for Patton.
When asked if he had had an interview with the Philadelphia 76ers, Patton spoke highly of the franchise.
“Yeah, I meet with [the 76ers] tomorrow. They might be my last interview so hopefully things go good there,” Patton stated. “They are a good team, they are building and they’re going in the right direction, especially with Joel, and those guys.”
On the topic as to whether teams are properly evaluating his game, Patton believes that his effort, dedication to improving his game and preparation are clear to decision makers at the NBA level.
“I think my game shows itself, there is no misconception, my game shows itself,” Patton stated. “Everyone knows how I play and I’ve read other people’s scouting reports so I’m happy.”
The NBA Draft and Combine allows scouts and teams to focus not only on the strengths but also the weaknesses of the players they are evaluating. When asked which weaknesses have been mentioned to him, Patton acknowledged that teams have highlighted one key area where he needs to improve.
“Rebounding [is something] they want me to work on,” Patton admitted.
In 25.3 minutes per game, Patton averaged 6.2 rebounds a game. Watching this year’s playoffs, the most successful teams have consistently utilizied lineups that include four wing players and a lone big man in the middle. If Patton can develop into an effective, mobile big man, he could eventually fill this sort of role at the NBA level, which can be extremely valuable.
Patton has a good understanding of what his strenghts and weaknesses are and is aiming to use his physical tools to maximize his potential. Patton believes his mobility is one of his greatest attributes.
“Just my quickness you know, I’m not the strongest but you know I’m the quickest in agility,” Patton stated.
If Patton can continue improving on his already considerable skill set, he has a good chance of hearing his name called rather early on Draft night.
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