Lamar Patterson, the the 48th overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, has signed a contract with Tofas Bursa of the Turkish League, according to Sportando.
— Sportando (@sportando) August 5, 2014
This is definitely the right move for 6’5 shooting guard Patterson. The Hawks’ roster was jammed with guards after their offseason signings of Kent Bazemore, Thabo Sefolosha, and Shelvin Mack. There wasn’t a roster spot for Patterson to actually occupy, let alone have a shot to get minutes. Now, he’ll get to make more money than he ever could have playing in the D-League next year, and get minutes to improve his game.
This isn’t unprecedented for the Hawks. They did the same thing with their second round pick Mike Muscala last season before injuries ravaged their front court, forcing them to bring him back into the fold. Atlanta doesn’t have an exclusive affiliate in the D-League, meaning they wouldn’t have been able to guarantee Patterson or Muscala playing time there. Given the way the rules are in the NBA at the moment, more teams should go with this route developmentally for their second rounders.
Patterson is a heady, smart wing prospect that shoots the ball well from three and passes extraordinarily well from the wing. He stepped up into a high usage role for Pittsburgh last season and actually saw his efficiency increase across the board. Advanced metrics loved him, and he spent a majority of the year in Ken Pomeroy’s top 10 for the player of the year in all of college basketball before falling out right before tournament season.
The naysayers with Patterson tend to focus on his average athleticism, middling lateral quickness, and the fact that he isn’t tall enough to play both wing positions. This is a shooting guard through and through, and I’m not sure he’s going to be able to defend enough to stick there. Regardless of whether or not he ends up in the NBA, Patterson has enough of a well-rounded game to make a lot of money in Europe. My guess is that’s where he ends up calling his home, but it’s possible that the Hawks (or eventually someone else) find a place for him.