Patrick Patterson: Forward Will Thrive Next to Former Teammate in Sacramento

Justin OnslowContributor IIFebruary 21, 2013

February 12, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Houston Rockets power forward Patrick Patterson (54) dunks the ball against the Golden State Warriors during the third quarter at Oracle Arena. The Rockets defeated the Warriors 116-107. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Patrick Patterson didn’t have the standout career in Houston many had hoped for, but he’ll have an opportunity to break out in Sacramento next to former Kentucky teammate DeMarcus Cousins.

Patterson was part of a six-player deal that sent 2012 first-round pick Thomas Robinson to the Houston Rockets after Robinson failed to make much of an impression in Sacramento. Here are the details of the deal, as provided by Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports:

Robinson averaged just 4.8 points and 4.7 rebounds in 15.9 minutes per game with the Kings. The fifth pick in the 2012 draft, Robinson was expected to be a major presence in Sacramento’s frontcourt next to Cousins, but he lost favor with head coach Keith Smart and didn’t earn the minutes to be a major impact player.

Now the task falls on Patterson to step in and fill the void.

Patterson has the tools to be a highly productive big man in the NBA, especially for a team on which he won’t be asked to pound away in the paint. Cousins—though disruptive in the locker room at times—has put together one of the best seasons of any center in the league this year, and his presence in the post will allow Patterson to play to his strengths.

The 23-year-old forward isn’t a strong rebounder yet, but he’s a physical presence on the defensive end. With good athleticism and a midrange jump shot that continues to improve, Patterson stands to be a nice complement on the offensive end next to Cousins, who has averaged 17.2 points and 9.9 rebounds in just over 31 minutes per game this season.

While Patterson is in line to see substantial playing time in Sacramento, he’ll have to contend for minutes with forward Jason Thompson. The 26-year-old is averaging 10.9 points and 6.7 rebounds per game this year, though his skill set is closer to Cousins’ than it is Patterson’s.

Patterson provides an athletic element that Sacramento doesn’t have at the position. While Thompson is leaner than some power forwards, he isn’t exactly a stretch four who can spread the floor for Cousins and consistently make the midrange jumper. Patterson provides that element, and he stands to garner immediate playing time this season in a platoon role with Thompson.  

It would be foolish to expect Patterson to take too much playing time from Thompson (who has averaged 16.5 points and 7.8 rebounds in his last six games), but there’s certainly an opportunity for him to play an impact role for the Kings, especially at the offensive end of the floor.

A new home playing next to an old friend will be good for Patterson. He’s having a breakout year, and the presence of two quality big men will keep the pressure off him in the paint, allowing him to play a more athletic brand of basketball at both ends of the floor. Cousins needs a running mate, and Patterson fits the bill.