Leading up to the NBA Draft we will be analyzing scouting reports for various players who have entered their name in this year’s NBA Draft. The focus of these articles will be on prospects who we find most intriguing and feel readers need to become more familiar. Please let us know if you want any players specifically @edupridepress. All stats and videos are via KenPom, ESPN, DraftExpress, and YouTube.
Justin Patton – Creighton
Weight: 226 lbs
Age: 20 years old
Projected: 17 (DraftExpress) 19 (CPP Big Board) 21 (CPP Mock Draft)
Background: A virtual unknown coming into his freshman season, Patton burst onto the national scene as one of the most productive big men in the country during his first year at Creighton. In fact, Patton’s only scholarship offer was from Creighton, which is only a short few miles from where he grew up. NBA teams and scouts are in love with Patton’s physical tools. Listed at 7’0 with a 7’2 wingspan according to DraftExpress.com, Patton is an exceptional athlete who also possesses great intangibles that will allow him to blossom into an impactful NBA player. His improvement over the last two or three years gives off the vibe that he still has a lot more room to grow, which makes him an even more attractive pick in this year’s draft.
Strengths: In his freshman year, Patton averaged 12.9 points and 6.8 rebounds per game and shot a sharp 68% from the field. Looking at those stats, the first thing that jumps out is how efficient of a player offensively he is. Although Patton’s performance degraded after star point guard Maurice Watson went down with an ACL tear, he still showed signs of efficiency by taking good shots and finishing well around the rim. Likewise, a lot of Patton’s success derived from his athletic ability for someone of his size. He excels at running the fast break, where he got a decent amount of his buckets, especially when Watson was still playing. A big man who can run the floor opens up so many doors for an NBA team. The traditional big man is a dying breed in today’s college and pro game, and having a guy with Patton’s height and versatility is vital for any team who likes to get out in transition and attack on the break. Another asset to Patton’s game that is growing is his jump shot. Multiple times throughout the year, Patton showed he could step out and hit the 15-17 foot jumper instead of being planted inside the lane waiting for his teammates to get him an easy layup or dunk. Granted, he only shot the three-ball 14 times this year, but he made eight of those attempts which give optimism that he can develop a three-point stroke to his arsenal.
Weaknesses: Patton was able to rely on his long frame in college to outmatch opponents. But, in the NBA, he’ll need to add a little more muscle to keep up physically inside with bigger and stronger centers and forwards. While Patton is more of a finesse type big man, he’s going to have to add a couple of post moves to his game to become a more reliable scorer down inside the paint. Lastly, Patton needs to put more emphasis on crashing the glass. Rebounding decides games, and for a team to be successful, they have to have bigs who can box out and clean up the mess around the rim.
Comparison: Marcin Gortat
Statistically speaking, Patton and Gortat are very similar. But, when one watches them play, they are very alike. Both big men are more face up centers instead of back to the basket, a trend that seems to be more common in today’s game. While Patton has the advantage athletically, Gortat is stronger and has an easier time battling with other bigs. If Patton can build on his strength with his established athletic ability and skills offensively, I don’t see why he can’t become a better player than Gortat.
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