Just in case any further confirmation was needed, the Toronto Raptors‘ convincing 99-87 win over the Sacramento Kings on Friday night proved once again that dealing Rudy Gay last December wasn’t such a bad idea.
Along with Greivis Vasquez, Patrick Patterson‘s arrival has already begun to pay dividends. But while Raptor fans have been pleasantly surprised with Patterson’s overall production, a closer look at his time at the University of Kentucky and first few years in the league reveal that his recent success should come as no surprise at all.
After a high school career that included three-straight state titles and All-American honors, Patterson ended a fierce recruiting battle between Duke University, the University of Florida and Kentucky by deciding on the Wildcats.
But after two years as the primary offensive threat in Lexington, the arrival of fellow future NBA players John Wall, Eric Bledsoe and DeMarcus Cousins significantly changed Patterson’s role on the team. Instead of letting the presence of the three newcomers effect his final year as a Wildcat however, Patterson adapted his game, learned to consistently shoot from behind the arc, and averaged only a few points less than he had during his freshman and sophomore campaigns.
Chosen as the 14th overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft by the Houston Rockets, Patterson’s first two seasons as a pro were spent trying to find a place for himself in limited floor-time, but midway through the 2012-13 season, he found his game.
With substantial playing time, Patterson averaged 11.6 PPG and just under five rebounds per contest in 47 games with the Rockets, 38 of which were starts. But despite his solid play and knack for producing double-doubles, a trade to Sacramento in February of 2013 halted the versatile forward’s development into a dependable contributor.
In the same way that the move from the New Orleans Pelicans to the Kings made people somehow forget that Vasquez had some serious ability at the point, Patterson’s departure from Houston forced the former SEC standout to start from scratch with his new team.
Through the first 17 games of the regular season, Patterson’s limited role with the Kings had led to a significant decrease in overall production and cut his scoring average almost in half. But since taking his game north of the border, Patterson has become a huge part of Toronto’s overall success. In 38 games as a Raptor, the West Virginia native has totaled 9.6 PPG with 5.2 RPG while shooting 42 percent from long-range.
Proving that his impressive numbers at the tail end of his time with Houston weren’t a fluke, Patterson continues to be an asset to the Raptors when given the minutes. In his last two contests, the 24-year-old sharp-shooter has averaged 13.5 PPG and 5.5 RPG while hitting five of nine from beyond the arc.
So, while Sacramento clearly landed the bigger name and left Toronto without it’s leading scorer, there’s been a clear-cut winner of the December trade that sent Gay back to the Western Conference, and that’s the team that Patterson will be playing for in the postseason.