C Creighton Justin Patton 7’0” 230 7’3” wingspan
Player Comparison: Meyers Leonard
Why here: The Jazz are looking for a stretch five to pair with their conventional bigs in Gobert and Favors. They’ve shown signs of experimenting with a run n gun/spaced transition offense at times, but they lack the necessary personnel to do so. Patton has the necessary skills to spread the floor off the bench and allow a change of pace offense for the creative mind of coach Snyder.
Strengths: Shows groundwork to be great rim runner… glides effortlessly in transition… fills lanes well… has soft hands resulting in smooth catches right into finishes and numerous lobs. Impressive motor and bountiful amount of energy. Gets into position quick and easily, sealing his man immediately out of transition. Has limited post arsenal but hooks and turnarounds look smooth already… has nice touch with both hands… has a believable up and under. High IQ through p&r sets… strong screens… can drag for jumper in addition to rolling to the hoop. Good finisher around the rim… hits different angles… doesn’t need much space… uses finesse when necessary. Can get up in space… doesn’t frequently dunk on opponents but has capability to with strong gather. Small sample size of perimeter shooting, but form and confidence are raising scouts’ eyebrows.
Handle isn’t incredible developed but he has a base level of move that paired with his agility and footwork (awesome first step for a five) allow for nice takes to the rim.
Rebounding isn’t his strongest suit, but he looks to have high IQ and knack for getting hands on the ball… lots of tip ins and tip outs.
Has good defensive foundation. Is quick and agile enough to stay in front of NBA fours. Needs to put on weight to handle banging with fives, but can defend with some success due to size and athleticism (added around 30 pounds in last year alone). Bodes well when switched on to guards off screens… handles close outs on shooters well because of quickness and length… agility allows for quick recoveries… blocks more shots as help defender and in transition than 1v1. Quick hands and feet paired with strong understanding of the game make him more than capable p&r defender.
Is an ok passer… showed signs of playmaking ability out of the high post and top of the key… hits back door cutters and bigs with inside position with commendable accuracy… finds open shooters on drives.
Weaknesses: Lacks strength and toughness for his size. Results in a rebounding deficiency and inability to contain strong post threats on the block. Despite having the size of a five, his abilities reflect the skills of a four, but he lacks enough athleticism and consistency as a shooter for that role (don’t count him out as a four though). Gets bodied by others, boards are majorly from crashing the glass from the perimeter, as he doesn’t get many when struggling to fight for position. Doesn’t have high rebounding IQ, poor at predicting misses and timing jumping for bounds. Lacks persistence when there are multiple misses.
Defensive ability other than weak side shot blocking needs lots of help. Limitations with his strength and IQ leave him at a disadvantage… he frequently gets moved out of way in the low post. Often is a bit too upright when guarding people that face up. Bites on fakes and fouls too frequently. Shows lapses of judgment as an off ball and help defender… loses his man on the perimeter off ball… doesn’t space floor correctly.
Lacks consistency and has too much confidence in his shooting and handling. Shot mechanics are funky and slow… takes contested jumpers… has lots of bad misses. Takes unnecessary and ill advised fade aways and step backs off the dribble. Doesn’t have strength to get all the way to the rim. Has nice footwork in face up scenarios but his unthreatening jumper ruins the advantage gained. He loses control of his loose handle too much.
Again, because of his deficit of strength and toughness, he is without much purpose in the post. Defenders force him into difficult turnarounds and fading hooks. His moves are slow and predictable… gets stripped and blocked too much for a 7 footer.
Outlook: Of all prospects outside of the lottery, Patton is one I am most excited for. If he lands in the right spot his transition could be very helpful for a strong career. I think the Jazz are a great place for him to reside. He can have pressure of guarding fives alleviated when he plays with Gobert, and he will thrive in the few transition and fast break sets they run.
Random Prediction: Coach Snyder bombs a speech at Justin’s wedding. Patton becomes camping and mountaineering enthusiast in Utah. He will sign a shoe deal with Li-Ning and his first official shoe will be a basketball/hiking hybrid.