On Friday, GM Masai Ujiri and the Toronto Raptors ensured that another piece of last year’s division-winning puzzle would return by re-signing forward Patrick Patterson to a three-year deal worth $18 million.
After coming to Toronto as a key part of the trade that sent Rudy Gay to the Sacramento Kings in early December of 2013, Patterson averaged 9.1 PPG with 5.1 RPG while hitting 41 percent from long-range in 23.3 MPG for the Raptors. Also pursued by the Orlando Magic and Phoenix Suns prior to re-signing, Patterson hasn’t been the most consistent of NBA power forwards throughout his four years in the league.
However, considering that the he is already on his third NBA team, we’ve yet to see what a little stability and experience can do for his offensive game.
And because Ujiri obviously realizes that keeping last year’s core group intact has to be the team’s top priority, and that Toronto would’ve struggled to replace a player like Patterson, who the franchise feels is only going to get better, this is a deal that the Raptors had to get done.
Much like point guard Greivis Vasquez, Patterson’s play during his brief stint with the Kings wasn’t indicative of the player who’s now proud to wear purple; this is because he was still learning the offensive ropes in Sacramento, while also attempting to find a role for himself.
During his 48 games as a Raptor last season, Patterson was extremely valuable off of the bench while providing Toronto with a strong rebounder who is able to shoot from the outside and stretch the defense, which in turn also allowed the aging Amir Johnson to rest his rickety frame when needed.
In the upcoming campaign, Patterson should see an increase in playing time as Johnson’s production is likely to decline. And with the recent departure of three-point specialist Steve Novak, the Patterson is now Toronto’s resident long-range assassin — and therefore even more irreplaceable.
When added with the likely return of Vasquez and the recent addition of guard Lou Williams, Patterson’s presence ensures that the Raptors will have one of the more productive benches in the Atlantic Division next season, which could go a long way towards building on last year’s playoff run.
Ty is an NBA writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @abovethefoldTy.