The NBA Draft Lottery occurred last night when the Pistons landed the 12th pick in the 2017 draft. This means, according to Pistons’ General Manager, Jeff Bower, Detroit has a “wide range of options” regarding which player they will draft. Bower added, “assuming we’re at 12, there are some good players that wouldn’t necessarily be labeled as positions of need but the value and long-term potential may merit them to be the best pick for us.”
This article will analyze draft-lottery hopeful, Justin Patton, the red-shirt freshman from Creighton University. Justin Patton is a 7’0 center, weighing 230 pounds, with a 7’2 ½ wingspan. After red-shirting his freshman year, Patton demonstrated excellent athleticism and tremendous upside during his only year in college.
Following Bower’s logic, Patton could serve as a long-term Stan Van Gundy project, possibly replacing the once untouchable Andre Drummond. And obviously, SVG has a lot of experience developing young centers such as Dwight Howard and Marcin Gortat.
Patton’s most polished offensive skills are his ability to run the pick-and-roll and his ability to cut to the basket and finish at the rim. Patton also showed a great motor, always running the floor, punishing lazy defenses with alley oops and timely cuts to the bucket:
Patton burst onto the Big East scene winning Freshman of the Year while ranking second in the country in field goal percentage (67.6 percent). He averaged 12.9 points, 6.2 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game:
The current 19-year-old (will turn 20 years old before the draft) was also chosen by conference coaches for second-team All-Big East and he made the all-freshman team. Most importantly, Patton was a finalist for the nation’s top honor for a center, the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award.
Patton has been projected as a top-20 pick by Sports Illustrated (12th), DraftExpress (17th), ESPN (18th) and CBS Sports (19th). According to basketballinsiders.com, Patton has worked out for several teams stating, “I had an interview with the Magic and I think it went really good. So, that’s good.” and “I have several teams – Denver, Chicago, Milwaukee, Cleveland, it’s a lot of teams. Left a few out. Dallas, Portland.” Lastly, Patton already has ties with the Atlanta Hawks. He also interviewed with the Pistons at the NBA Combine.
Overall, Creighton’s young star could serve as the Pistons third center but in order to play in the league, he will need to add bulk/size and work on his post defense. Patton’s ability to rebound in the NBA is an instant concern and he will be a long term project for any NBA team that drafts him. However, Patton’s skill set and athleticism fit very well into the modern NBA thus possibly making him a draft day steal. For the Pistons specifically, Patton would fit very well into SVG’s pick-and-roll offense. Ultimately, Patton will probably start his career in the D-League, acquiring valuable skills to become an NBA big-man.
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