NBA Draft Profile: Pittsburgh's Lamar Patterson

NBA Draft Profile: Pittsburgh's Lamar Patterson
June 12, 2014, 7:15 pm

Lamar Patterson, 6-foot-5 shooting guard, Pittsburgh

2013-14 stats: 17.1 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 4.3 apg, 1.4 spg

In the same mold as many Pitt players that came before him, Patterson gradually improved throughout his college career, which included a redshirt year, evolving from a role player to a featured option. Patterson combines the toughness and physical nature his program is known for with a crafty offensive game, outside-shooting prowess and the versatility to be both a playmaker and a scorer. Even with his high skill level and all-around game, Patterson isn’t an explosive athlete and his relatively advanced age will be held as by NBA personnel as another strike against him.

Career highlights: After a medical redshirt year to begin his career, Patterson was a backup as a freshman, averaging only 2.6 points per game, before becoming a starter as a sophomore and displaying his versatility, averaging 9.6 points, 5.3 rebounds, 3.6 assists and a steal per game, while shooting 41 percent from three-point range. As a junior, Patterson averaged an even 10 points, 4.3 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.2 steals per game, shooting 46.4 percent from the field. Patterson became the Panthers’ focal point as a senior, posting averages of 17.1 points, 4.9 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 1.4 steals per game, earning second team all-ACC honors.

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Strengths: Equipped with a sturdy frame, Patterson plays a physical brand of basketball, as he’s a good rebounder for a perimeter player, plays tough defense, can post up smaller defenders and seeks out contact on drives to the basket. He has an excellent feel for the game, displaying tremendous unselfishness and court vision for a wing player, as well as the ability to hit mid-range jumpers off the dribble and from deep range with his feet set or coming off screens. While he can’t be described as an explosive athlete, Patterson competes on the defensive end of the court, using both his strength and understanding of the game to be effective.

Weaknesses: Patterson’s lack of explosiveness and lateral quickness could be an issue for him at the next level, as he’s probably more suited to defend small forwards than shooting guards, but doesn’t have the height to guard bigger athletes on the next level, while staying in front of NBA shooting guards and chasing them around screens could also prove problematic. Offensively, he could be relegated to being more of a spot-up shooter, as it’s difficult to envision him having the ball in his hands and teams opting to run the offense through him, taking away much of what made him so effective at the end of his college career. He will have to readjust to being a complementary player and while he brings intangibles to the table that lead to winning, Patterson’s contributions are maximized when he’s a featured option.

Draft projection: With other players’ physical tools and upside, if not their track records of individual success, being more coveted than Patterson, it will be an uphill battle for him to get drafted, as his positive attributes are better suited for game situations than workout settings. Still, he will likely get the opportunity to demonstrate his value in summer league, then training camp, making it important that he finds the right fit and lands with a team that prizes what he does well. However, it wouldn’t be surprising if Patterson had to begin his career in the D-League or overseas, demonstrating that his limitations won’t prohibit from becoming a solid short-minutes reserve.