As Justin Patton looks to be Creighton’s first player selected in the first round since Doug McDermott in 2014, let’s take a bit of a deeper look at what a team is getting if they select the Omaha native.
Justin Patton Measurables
While it seems like the current NBA is moving more and more towards a “small ball” type of game, Patton’s seven-foot frame may seem out of place. It’s not. Patton excels at scoring in the paint. Of his 296 field goals attempted last season, 208 came at the rim. Of those 208, 168 were successful, for a staggering .807 FG%. If Patton gets drafted to a team already loaded with agile bigs, such as the Milwaukee Bucks, he could make the offense that much more lengthy and explosive.
With Patton redshirting the 2015-16 season to work on his game (something that clearly was effective), I feel a bit cheated as Big East fan that I was only able to see him for one year. His dunks, blocks, and occasional three-pointers (8-15 on the season) were a sight to behold, and I feel like he was just scratching the surface on his capabilities.
In college, it’s pretty easy to figure out where the seven-footer plays. He’s a center regardless of anything else. In the NBA, it gets a bit murky. While Patton is very tall, he weighs in at 226 pounds, putting him in the company of players like Gordon Hayward and Harrison Barnes, decidedly not centers. If a team is fully committed to making Patton a true center, getting him to add weight will probably be a top priority.
The flip side of Patton’s future potential and ability is the fact that he may not be able to make an impact immediately. While that may be fine for some teams, given that he’s projected to go in the 15-20 range, it could be frustrating for fans of Patton and his new team alike. Marquette’s Henry Ellenson, for example, was taken 18th overall last season and spent much of the year at D-League Grand Rapids.