Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Trade Target: Patrick Patterson

Patrick Patterson - PF - 6'9, 235
Toronto Raptors - 2 years, $12.3 million remaining
26 years old

A role player on what appears to be a stalled Raptors team, Patrick Patterson has the type of game that Stan Van Gundy covets in his PFs.  A good outside shooter with the ability to keep a defense honest, Patterson could help the Pistons fill their void at PF as the team moves away from Greg Monroe.  Patterson isn't exactly the difference-making option that would placate an uneasy fan base, but he's the kind of player who can help a team that doesn't have much depth at the PF position if Monroe leaves town.  Having skipped around, playing with three teams in his first five seasons, maybe Patterson just hasn't found the right destination yet.  However, with minimal post-up skills and questionable defensive abilities, Patterson may not be as good of a fit as he seems.  Would it be worth it for the Pistons to give up assets to acquire Patrick Patterson, or should they find a different way to fill in the blanks at the 4-spot?

Patrick Patterson

Patterson has the statistical profile of a true role player.  As a member of the Raptors' second unit, Patterson provides his team with a true stretch four who is little more and little less.  He's an okay rebounder, a decent playmaker for his position, and an overall efficient, low usage scorer.  One thing that is a bit concerning is Patterson's complete inability to get to the free throw line.  While he did take over half of his field goal attempts from beyond the three point line in 2014-15, it's still troublesome that he wasn't able to make more trips to the free throw line.  It's even more interesting when you look at the distance composition of Patterson's field goal attempts.  Aside from the 53% attempt rate from three point range, Patterson attempted over 30% of his field goals within 10 feet of the basket.  That he wasn't able to draw more fouls/free throw attempts suggests that he isn't able to get himself any offense at all.  It's either that or he's completely averse to contact.  Either way, it's a troubling part of his offensive game.  If he were to have a down year from beyond the arc, it's likely that he wouldn't give you anything at all on the offensive end.

Patterson's play-type statistics speak to the items mentioned above; he's going to make the defense respect his range when he's spotting up, and he can be a threat out of the pick-and-roll, or more specifically, the pick-and-pop:

Patrick Patterson
Pts. per Poss.
NBA Rank
PnR Roll-Man

Patterson didn't have any isolation possessions in the NBA's play type database for the entire regular season.  As mentioned above, he's a role player, even by the strictest definition of the term.  I didn't bother ranking his post-up production either; that's not even a post-up possession every third game.  The heavy part of Patterson's game is him hanging around the perimeter and waiting to get himself a good look generated by a teammate.  When those looks did come about, he was generally good at converting.  For reference, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope posted 1.05 points per spot-up possession this season.  Getting that production from a SG is okay, but getting it from a PF is way better, especially at his level of usage in that regard.  An area I would like to see the Pistons explore should they acquire Patterson is the pick-and-roll/pop.  With a solid frame and a good outside shot, Patterson seems like he could really do some damage as a regular pick-and-pop option.  Considering Reggie Jackson's proficiency in pick-and-roll plays, that could provide some additional value to a Patterson acquisition.

While Patterson has some clear value on the offensive side of the floor, there are some serious concerns about his ability to defend.  Taking a look at his defensive play-type stats, there's reason to believe he was one of the causes of the Raptors' struggles on defense:

Patrick Patterson
PPP Allowed
NBA Rank
PnR Roll-Man
The only area where Patterson appears to be proficient is the area that has the fewest possessions to provide evidence.  Although he was respectable as a closeout defender on spot-up possessions, I'm more concerned with his inability to defend in post-up and isolation situations.  As a PF, Patterson is bound to have to defend on the block from time to time.  That he wasn't even average in defending that situation is bothersome.  His inability to slow down isolation possessions is concerning too.  After the last few years of watching Greg Monroe trying to chase down perimeter-oriented PFs, do we want to repeat that for another two years?  At least Monroe was a respectable post defender.  

Patterson may not be the splash that fans are looking for this summer, but he would truly be a great fit on the offensive end.  His shooting is what the team needs if Stan Van Gundy plans on running the Reggie Jackson/Andre Drummond pick-and-roll as the staple of the team's offense for years to come.  Even if he can't provide any offense on the block and his defense is questionable, there is absolutely a role for Patterson on next year's Pistons team.  The question, in my mind, really should be about whether or not he duplicates too much of what Anthony Tolliver already does.  Tolliver is as good of a shooter, and gives you a bit more defensively.  It could benefit the Pistons more to seek out a player who provides some variation to Tolliver's game.  The other issue is that Patterson gives you absolutely nothing if he goes cold from the perimeter.  This is a situation where I'm not sure the pros outweigh the cons.

The Raptors could go one of two ways this summer, and the direction they choose will likely affect whether Patterson is even available and what his cost will be.  Toronto could choose to re-tool with hopes that small moves are enough to make them competitive come playoff time, or they could sell off and start a full re-build.  It's way more likely that they'll go the first route, but either way, Patterson can be had.  For the purpose of trying to find a reasonable deal that ends with Patterson in a Pistons uniform, let's assume that the Raptors want to remain competitive.  If that's the case, the Raptors will be looking for either a player who can contribute or cap relief.  Here's a deal that could offer the Raptors a little bit of both:

Pistons receive: Patrick Patterson, Terrence Ross
Raptors receive: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Jodie Meeks, Caron Butler, Shawne Williams

In the above deal, the Raptors add some much needed perimeter shooting at the SG position, and turn Ross into KCP, a switch that gives the Raptors the player who has shown more potential to this point.  They also grab two non-guaranteed deals, helping to free up cap space for the summer.  I never make these deals 100% assuming the other team would be willing to accept; rather, I make them to show what I would be willing to give up in a trade.  I'm trying to make it close to fair value for the other team, but it's hard for me to say as a biased fan.  Keep that in mind for all of the Trade Target posts.  The Pistons downgrade their SG rotation, but solidify their PF rotation, shoring their needs up before they have to go out and do something in free agency.  Ross could very well turn out to be better than KCP, but it hasn't happened that way to this point, although I don't think they're far off.  The main offering here is Meeks and cap space.  If Toronto needs a future 2nd round pick to sweeten the pot, so be it.

A three team deal could make a bit more sense in this situation, especially if we're assuming that the Raptors are going to continue building on their current core.  A third team could allow the Raptors to unload more salary, or allow them the opportunity to go a different route at a position where they don't feel confident.  A third team in this situation should be able to eat a few different players' salary, and/or provide the Raptors with a pick or assets in return for Ross.  A team that could fit the latter billing (wants Terrence Ross), could be the Denver Nuggets, who are in the early stages of a rebuild.  If the Nuggets have an interest in turning a veteran into Ross, they could help the Pistons acquire Patterson:

Pistons receive: Patrick Patterson
Raptors receive: Wilson Chandler, Jodie Meeks, Shawne Williams, Caron Butler
Nuggets receive: Terrence Ross, 2017 TOR 2nd round pick

I'll admit, I don't know about this one; it was hard to find a 3rd team that would be able to balance this one out.  While I could see the appeal to each team here, as Detroit upgrades their PF depth and gets Meeks off the books, Toronto improves their depth on the wings for next season and Denver gets a good future asset, I think Denver wants more for Chandler.  On a similar note, the Pistons probably wouldn't move Meeks for Patterson, unless they already had another plan in place at SG.  If you've got a good three team deal that ends with Patterson in a Pistons uniform, drop it in the comments below.

While I think there could certainly be some benefit to acquiring Patterson, overall, I'm not sure that he would give the Pistons much more than they already have in Anthony Tolliver.  If he's going to cost anything much more than what's listed above, you can definitely count me as uninterested.  Patterson is certainly a useful player, but I think you can easily find what he gives you in free agency this summer without giving up future assets.  Wouldn't Mirza Teletovic give Detroit the same perimeter shooting at the PF position?  I'll take a polite pass on trading for Patrick Patterson this summer, unless the deal is just too good to pass up.

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