USA TODAY Sports
Patrick Patterson, the headliner of the package headed to Sacramento in the Thomas Robinson deal, has been a solid player for the Rockets. We break down what he offers.
Lost in the shock and (widespread but not unanimous) dismay over the Thomas Robinson deal is the fact that Patrick Patterson, the best player headed to the Kings in the trade, is pretty good. Patterson is in his third season, having entered the draft alongside Kentucky teammates John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins. That means that Patterson is eligible for an early extension in July, and is otherwise on track to be a restricted free agent in 2014. He'll make $2 million this year and $3.1 million next season.
Patterson, 23, is more productive than Robinson right now. He's averaging 16 points and 6.5 rebounds per 36 minutes and shooting 51 percent from the floor with an eFG of .557. For comparison's sake, Robinson is averaging 11 and 10.6 per 36 and shooting 42 percent from the floor with a .424 eFG. (For players with zero three-point makes, FG% and eFG are interchangeable.) So not only is Patterson fairly efficient on two-pointers (56 percent), but he can hit the three, shooting 35-96 (36.5 percent) this season.
But you'll notice those rebounding numbers and ... yeah. As Akis noted last night, Patterson rebounds about as well as Tyreke Evans does. Tyreke is a two-guard. Patterson is a power forward. This is a problem when you consider that the Kings are No. 30 in defensive rebounding. With Robinson, a good rebounder, playing minutes. Mix in Patterson and the rebounding numbers won't likely get much better.
Defensively, Patterson doesn't have a great reputation, though it's so hard to tell with young players and the Kings aren't on the verge of being even respectable at that end. He could be good, he could be bad. Robinson could be great on defense. He's already OK. Or not embarrassing, at least. It's a low bar to clear in Sacramento.
There's also the unavoidable matter of Boogie. Cousins and Patterson are very close; they were teammates at Kentucky, and it's been said that Pat-Pat was a big brother of sorts. This is indisputably good, but also indisputably immeasurable. We have no idea if the positive effect on Cousins will outweigh the potential concession on talent and potential.
The Kings might be better this season for having Patterson. They might be better in the long-term if Robinson is a bust. But surely they could have done better with the No. 5 pick -- either by trading it at the draft, picking a different player. (I don't think I'll be able to watch another Blazers or Pistons game without bawling this season.)
Welcome to Sacramento, Patrick. Hope you're here a long time, because that will mean that the Kings will be here a long time and also that you turned out to be a keeper.