I miss the old 2Pat, straight to the hole 2Pat
Got on a roll 2Pat, the playoff #goals 2Pat
I hate the new 2Pat, the brick shoot 2Pat
The always prude 2Pat, float up the two 2Pat
I miss the sweet 2Pat, made all his threes 2Pat
I gotta say, at that time I’d like to meet 2Pat
See I invented 2Pat, it wasn’t any 2Pats
And now I look and look around and there’s so many 2Pats
I used to love 2Pat, I used to love 2Pat
I even had the ‘Cats jacket, I thought I was 2Pat!
What if 2Pat read a column about 2Pat
Called “I miss the Old 2Pat”? Man that’d be so 2Pat!
That’s all it was 2Pat, we still love 2Pat
And I love you like 2Pat loves 2Pat
Patrick Patterson isn’t doing so hot right now. Filling in minutes left by the injury to Jared Sullinger, the Raptors’ de facto top power forward is missing almost every shot he puts up. He’s making just 30% of field goals, with a rotation-worst 23% from three-point range.
As part of the early stretch four revolution, these numbers are sub-ideal. On a Raptors team that thrives on space in cramped half-court sets, it’s binding. Three weeks into the season, Patterson’s struggles are one of two seriously worrying issues the Raptors have — the first being the possible washed-ness of DeMarre Carroll.
In this column, I’m all about dreaming about Toronto’s power forward solution. This is most likely to come via trade, but as a businessman first, I’m never one to argue against an internal hire. Who better to help the Raptors reach their full potential than someone who knows the system and can thrive? Toronto wants to shore up their four position, and getting the old Patrick Patterson back would go miles in achieving that.
The Basketball Fit
Let’s go Patrick vs. Patrick. Back when the man was 25 years old, in the 2014-15 season, he was shooting a solid 44.9% from the field, with 37.1% from three. Given this is the year when he was dropped into the role he carries to this day — a big minutes power forward who closes rather than starts — I think it’s the best comparison for the new Patrick to aspire to.
First off, Patterson has to simply make shots. His shot chart from this year is anemic, and shows both his struggles from deep and his self-conscious driving game.
In every other facet, he’s still holding his own. He’s part of the best defensive lineups the Raptors have and is still relied upon in clutch situations on that end. He’s still an effort-driven rebounder too — while not as demonstrative as Jonas Valanciunas, you can’t knock his hustle in there. Most importantly, he rarely makes mistakes.
Unfortunately, much of his confidence as a player on the offensive end is tied to his three-point shot. If he’s making it, he releases, forces defences to honour him, and creates more driving space for Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan. If he’s not, he’s often venturing awkwardly into the lane, shooting off-balance floaters or getting lost in traffic.
The Emotional Fit
Come on, man. Need I say more?
The Raptors need positive regression from Patrick Patterson. Last year, he got off to a similarly cold start — albeit not as violently bad — and turned it around just prior to the All-Star break. While his career numbers show a slow drop-off in shooting percentage, there’s no reason to think it’ll crater to those numbers we mentioned off the top.
If Patterson can return to a 40/35/80 shooter, at the very least, the Raptors are going to be okay. There’s still reason to let your eyes wander, but if Patterson is picking up the slack, a trade may not be needed.
What are your thoughts on Patterson’s struggles?