Patrick Patterson

Western Notes: Smith Jr., Parsons, Saric, Patterson

Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle is trying to put a damper on speculation that Dennis Smith Jr. will be dealt. Carlisle said that Smith and rookie sensation Luka Doncic form a ball-handling duo that can coexist and put steady pressure on opposing defenses, Dwain Price of Mavs.com tweets. “We have two point guards out there. Let’s quit looking at it as Dennis is getting relegated to playing off the ball,” Carlisle said. “We’ve got two point guards out there, which is a great advantage, and we’ve just got to take advantage of that and create a balance and cause problems for teams.” A report surfaced earlier this week that Dallas was gauging the market for the second-year guard.

We have more from around the Western Conference:

  • Chandler Parsons has been medically cleared to play and has participated in four 5-on-5 scrimmages but it’s uncertain when the Grizzlies will begin using him again, according to David Cobb of the Memphis Commercial Appeal. Parsons, who has been battling knee soreness since being sidelined in late October, has yet to be activated. “He is dying to play,” Parsons’ agent, James Dunleavy, told Cobb. Parsons is making $24.1MM this season and another $25.1MM next season before his contract expires.
  • The duo of Taj Gibson and Dario Saric has provided a comfort level to Timberwolves coach Tom Thibodeau, Chris Hine of the Minneapolis Star Tribune writes. They have shared the spot since Saric was acquired from the Sixers in the Jimmy Butler deal. “Taj is playing unbelievable, and so is Dario,” Thibodeau told Hine. Gibson, who is making $14MM, will be an unrestricted free agent in July.
  • The backup power forward spot has been problematic for the Thunder, according to an Oklahoman report. Jerami Grant is averaging 12.4 PPG and 4.8 RPG as the starter but there’s a dropoff when he needs a rest. Patrick Patterson, the most likely candidate, has seen his minutes decline. He’s averaging just 3.9 PPG and 2.5 RPG in 15.9 MPG. Patterson holds a $5.7MM option on his contract for next season.

Thunder Notes: Westbrook, George, Grant, Patterson

The Thunder remain the only winless team in the Western Conference but Russell Westbrook said it’s far too early to push the panic button, Royce Young of ESPN reports. Oklahoma City is 0-4 after blowing a 16-point halftime lead against the Celtics on Thursday. Westbrook had a brutal fourth quarter, missing all seven of his shots while making three turnovers. “We’re OK. We’ll be all right,” Westbrook said. “It’s early. I’m confident in my guys in this locker room, I’m confident in myself and my abilities to make sure that we have an opportunity to win a ballgame. There’s no need to panic. Obviously we’re not starting the way we wanted to, but we’ll be OK and I will make sure of that. So, not worried.”

We have more from Oklahoma City:

  • While Westbrook rubs some people the wrong way, he was an integral reason why Paul George decided to stay instead of joining one of the Los Angeles teams in free agency. “A lot of it was I liked our chemistry,” George told Young in a detailed piece on OKC’s year-long recruitment of George. “I liked what he brings to the table, I liked his competitiveness and I loved him as a teammate, as a friend, as a brother, as a dude in the locker room. He had a lot to do with me coming back here.”
  • Jerami Grant and Patrick Patterson continue to share starting duties at the power forward spot, Thunder digital reporter Nick Gallo relays. Grant got the nod against Boston because coach Billy Donovan wanted to play a smaller, quicker unit. Against a more rugged frontcourt, Donovan will go with Patterson. “For us, it’s going to be game-to-game in terms of the roster and having a plan of how to utilize those guys,” Donovan said.
  • What can the Thunder do to fix their issues? Erik Horne of The Oklahoman takes a closer look.
  • The Thunder have until the end of the month to decide whether to pick up the rookie scale options on Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot and Terrance Ferguson. Find out more here.

Thunder Notes: Westbrook, Roberson, Patterson, Grant

The Thunder’s starting backcourt of Russell Westbrook and Andre Roberson should be back early in the season, GM Sam Presti told Erik Horne of The Oklahoman and other media members during a Thursday press conference. Roberson, who suffered a ruptured patellar tendon in his left knee in January, will be a non-contact participant at the start of the preseason. There is no timetable when Roberson will get back to contact, Horne continues. Westbrook underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee last week and is expected to be re-evaluated in three weeks, Horne adds. “It was a pretty minor thing he had to have done. And he’ll be back,” Presti said.

We have more on the Thunder:

  • Presti deferred questions regarding who will replace Carmelo Anthony at power forward to coach Billy Donovan, Horne relays in the same story. Patrick Patterson and Jerami Grant are the top candidates. “We have to let Billy make those decisions,” Presti said. “He’s in charge of what happens once the ball is tipped up and once we are competing.”
  • Presti admitted the team would love to have more 3-point shooting, Royce Young of ESPN.com tweets. Paul George is the only sure-fire member of the starting five who is an above-average 3-point shooter. The top way to solve the issue would be to make a deal but the Thunder would have to give up players they like, Young adds.
  • Presti provided his input on how Oklahoma City could use its quickness to maximum use in another Horne story.

Thunder Notes: Luwawu-Cabarrot, Nader, Patterson, Adams

Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot is a world traveler, but he hasn’t spent much time in his new home of Oklahoma City, writes Brett Dawson of The Oklahoman. The second-year forward, who played in today’s NBA Africa game, spent just one day in OKC after being traded from the Sixers in a three-team deal July 25.

“It’s a new start,” he said. “Everything is new. I haven’t been there for more than a day, so I can’t even fully realize that it’s gonna be a new life, a new city, a new coach, a new staff, new players, new friends, new things to do in the city, new restaurants. Everything is gonna be new. I love learning new things when I move somewhere.”

Luwawu-Cabarrot hopes the change of scenery is accompanied by an increase in playing time. He was a first-round pick in 2016, but had limited opportunity to show off his skills in Philadelphia, spending part of his first season in the G League and averaging 16.5 minutes of playing time in 121 NBA games. The Sixers didn’t use him at all in the playoffs.

“I feel like it’s a very good opportunity for me,” he added. “I feel like Philadelphia didn’t want me anymore, so it’s a good thing that they traded me.”

There’s more tonight from Oklahoma City:

  • Also getting used to a new home is Abdel Nader, whom the Thunder acquired from the Celtics July 23, notes Dan Shalin for The Chicago Tribune. A second-round pick in 2016, Nader played one season in Boston, but was dealt when it became clear there wasn’t a roster spot for him. He is doing rehab work on his right wrist after undergoing surgery in June. “When [the trade] happened, I was a little bummed,” Nader said. “But I flew down instantly to OKC, met with the GM [Sam Presti] and with the coaching staff. Everybody is on the same page, and they welcomed me with open arms, made it seem like they wanted me. It felt good that the organization was putting their trust in me.”
  • Patrick Patterson is hoping to put up better numbers in his second season with the Thunder, writes Nick Gallo of NBA.com. Even though he played in all 82 games, Patterson was limited at the start of last year because of a summer procedure on his knee.
  • Steven Adams blasts former Thunder guard Reggie Jackson in his new book and says players were relieved when he was traded to the Pistons in 2015, relays Ashish Mathur of AmicoHoops.

Western Rumors: Patterson, Burks, Kokoskov, Paul

Forward Patrick Patterson admits he’s disappointed with the way his first season with the Thunder played out, Erik Horne of The Oklahoman reports. Patterson appeared in every regular season game but averaged career lows in points, rebounds, minutes and field goal percentage after signing a three-year, $16.5MM contract last summer. “At the end of the day, it wasn’t what I expected,” Patterson said. “It wasn’t what my teammates and coaching staff expected, or even the fans.” Patterson saw very little playing time with the first unit at power forward due to Carmelo Anthony‘s presence, Horne notes.

In other Western Conference news:

  • Jazz guard Alec Burks, who has endured an injury-plagued career, headed into the offseason healthy but his future with the club is uncertain, according to Mike Sorensen of the Deseret News. Burks fell out of the rotation behind rookie sensation Donovan Mitchell and another rookie, Royce O’Neale. Burks has one year and $11.5MM remaining on his contract and his expiring deal could be traded in the offseason, Sorensen adds. “I’ve been here a long time, since I was 19, and hopefully it keeps going,” Burks told Sorensen. “I’ve seen a lot in seven years. There’s been high times, low times and even-keel times. Hopefully there’ll be more good times in the future.”
  • The Suns may have one of the youngest rosters in the league but new coach Igor Kokoskov insists that shouldn’t lower expectations, Scott Bordow of the Arizona Republic relays. Kokoskov, the NBA’s first European-born coach, made the comment during his introductory press conference. “This is not a development league. This is the NBA,” Kokoskov said. “We won’t ever hide it or use it as an excuse.”
  • Chris Paul knew what he was doing when he orchestrated a trade from the Clippers to the Rockets, Dan Woike of the Los Angeles Times writes. Pairing up with James Harden gave the perennial All-Star point guard his best chance to win an NBA championship, Woike continues. He has quieted the doubters by getting to the Western Conference Finals, Woike adds. “All the people who talk about it don’t know this game better than I do,” Paul said.

Northwest Notes: George, Mitchell, Patterson

There’s no indication that Paul George has decided what to do as a free agent this season but Brett Dawson of The Oklahoman writes that we’ve already seen a glimpse of what’s possible if he decides to stay with the Thunder and continue to suit up alongside Russell Westbrook.

The scribe writes that the forward’s decision to leave or stay with the Thunder will be seen, fairly or not, as a referendum on playing next to the club’s superstar. George himself lamented that it was a significant adjustment tweaking his game to complement Westbrook’s but the pair would occasionally fall in step and thrive.

George’s first season with the Thunder saw him touch the ball five fewer times per game and also hold possession for less. That’s not all that surprising given that he was necessarily obligated to play off the ball but it could play a role in the decision he makes heading forward.

There’s more out of the Northwest Division:

  • Yes, Donovan Mitchell had an impressive rookie campaign, but plenty of other players had solid first years before plateauing. One particularly intriguing perspective that may reassure Jazz fans that they’re not witnessing the next O.J. Mayo is teammate Thabo Sefolosha‘s. “I was a teammate with Derrick Rose when he was a rookie, Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant when they were young in their first two seasons in OKC, and the talent level is right up there with those guys,” the 34-year-old told Eric Woodyard of The Deseret News.
  • There’s no denying that Patrick Patterson is a sharp-shooting veteran presence for the Thunder, exactly what he was expected to be when he signed a three-year, $16MM deal last summer, but declining athleticism limited his ability to contribute off the bench in 2017/18, Berry Tramel of The Oklahoman writes.
  • He may not win the Rookie of the Year award (according to our own staff) but ESPN’s Mike Schmitz believes that Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell has the highest future potential of any of this year’s rookies. Co-writer Kevin Pelton placed him No. 2 behind Ben Simmons but Schmitz raved about the Louisville product’s demonstrated ability to improve upon his weaknesses.

Thunder Interested In Avery Bradley

In the wake of losing All-NBA defender Andre Roberson to a ruptured left patellar tendon for the remainder of the 2017/18 season, the Thunder are interested in trading for newly-acquired Clippers guard Avery Bradley, reports Tim Bontemps of The Washington Post.

Bradley, who is in the final year of his contract, likely doesn’t fit into the Clippers’ long-term plans, and Oklahoma City appears interested in taking advantage of a potential deal as a result.

Long considered an elite man-to-man defender in this league, Bradley would be able to step in for Roberson admirably, while at the same time giving the Thunder an upgrade on the offensive side of the ball, where Bradley is a career 36.8 percent shooter from long range (Roberson’s career three-point percentage is 25.7%).

Despite the Thunder’s interest, however, it’s difficult to envision a plausible scenario in which a potential trade would occur. The Clippers are building for the future and the Thunder don’t have a first-round pick to trade until 2022 at the earliest.

Also, Bradley is making $8.8MM this season and the Thunder’s best pieces for salary-matching purposes include some combination of Alex AbrinesPatrick Patterson, and Kyle Singler, none of whom are on an expiring deal or overly productive.

The Thunder would likely have to throw promising rookie Terrance Ferguson into any plausible deal in order to realistically pique the Clippers’ interest, and the Thunder are thus far unwilling to do so, per Bontemps.

Northwest Notes: Aminu, Thunder, Timberwolves

Before he signed with the Trail Blazers as a free agent in 2015, veteran forward Al-Farouq Aminu had converted just 28.6% of his career three-point attempts. However, he knew he’d be counted on to improve his outside shot after signing a lucrative four-year deal with Portland, and he has delivered so far. Aminu has made 36.1% of his threes during his time with the Blazers, including a career-best 42.1% this season.

“I’ve always been a slasher, so knowing the instincts and what you’re supposed to be doing as a shooter and how they need you for a team, it’s different,” Aminu said, per Casey Holdahl of Blazers.com. “But you learn, for sure, because you want to stick around.”

Aminu remains under contract in Portland for one more season beyond this year, but if he continues to knock down outside shots at an improve rate, he should be a very appealing three-and-D target in free agency in 2019.

Here’s more from around the Northwest:

  • Thunder forward Patrick Patterson was fined $10K this week for publicly criticizing the NBA’s officiating, per an Associated Press report. After a blown call cost OKC a game on Friday, Patterson published a tweet on Saturday suggesting that there “needs to be some kind of consequence for [referees’] downright awfulness rather than pointless apologies from their bosses.”
  • Second-year guard Alex Abrines continues to make more than 38% of his three-point attempts, but his inconsistency on the defensive end has cost him minutes with the Thunder, writes Brett Dawson of The Oklahoman. Given his $5.725MM salary, Abrines could become a nice mid-sized trade chip for the Thunder at the deadline if he’s not a regular part of the club’s rotation.
  • The positive energy surrounding the Timberwolves as of late has been noticeable, as the new-look roster is hitting its stride. “I feel like everyone’s comfortable,” Andrew Wiggins said, per Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic. “Everyone’s together. Everyone’s playing together. Everyone likes each other. We’re in a good flow right now.”

Thunder Notes: Patterson, Anthony, Westbrook

The Thunder may be better off sending Carmelo Anthony to the bench unit, Erik Horne of The Oklahoman contends. Horne notes that the offense often becomes stagnant with the team’s stars holding onto the ball too long and inserting Patrick Patterson in the starting lineup could be the solution to the team’s problems.

Patterson, who joined OKC during the offseason on a three-year, $16.4MM deal, prides himself on making quick decisions with the rock.

“Being able to decide as soon as I catch the ball if I want to drive or pass is something I’ve been carrying along for years,” Patterson said.

The power forward is averaging 1.29 seconds per touch this season, which is the second-lowest mark on the team, according to Horne.

In theory, adding Patterson in the starting five makes sense, though there isn’t much data on the potential new starting lineup. The Russell WestbrookAndre RobersonPaul GeorgeSteven Adams-Patterson lineup has only played eight minutes this season and while it yielded a slight positive in net rating, it’s unclear how successful the lineup could be over the long-term. Factor in the potential negative chemistry consequences from changing a future Hall of Famer’s role and the potential retooling of the rotation appears even riskier.

Coach Billy Donovan wouldn’t rule out making that kind of move, but said that Patterson is “in a pretty good routine and role right now.”

Here’s more from Oklahoma City:

  • Donovan believes the Thunder’s chemistry is just fine but he acknowledges that the offense will require more ball movement if they are going to climb up in the standings, as Ken Berger of Bleacher Report relays. “They’re willing to work and they’re willing to sacrifice and they know that they have to change,” Donovan said of the team’s three stars. “And I think that change sometimes is difficult. It’s difficult, it’s challenging, it’s new. … But I think for the way we need to play to maximize our team, we’re going to have to move the ball, share the ball, and that’s been a little bit different for most of these guys.”
  • GM Sam Presti may have felt pressure to surround Westbrook with stars so that he would be more likely to ink an extension. While it worked, as Westbrook agreed to add five years to his pact, one anonymous league executive believes the team did more than it had to, as Berger passes along in the same piece.“I think they messed with the chemistry too much,” the Western Conference executive said. “They probably would’ve been fine with just George and Westbrook and some role players.”

Northwest Notes: Favors, Patterson, Napier

With his contract set to expire in the offseason, pending unrestricted free agent Derrick Favors has been the subject of trade speculation. That’s not distracting the Jazz forward from performing for Utah this season, Tony Jones of the Salt Lake Tribune writes.

Favors says that he would like to remain with the Jazz long-term but is aware of the fact that he could be a trade chip as the franchise retools following Gordon Hayward‘s departure last summer.

With Hayward out of the picture and Rudy Gobert now sidelined into next month, Favors will get an opportunity to showcase himself in the pick-and-roll game with Jazz point guard Ricky Rubio.

I know I’m going to have to work hard, and I know I’m going to be counted on to produce. I’m ready for it. It’s a position I’ve been in before,” the eight-year Jazz veteran said.

There’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • While he hasn’t gotten off to a great start with his new franchise, the Thunder are aware that offseason addition Patrick Patterson will be a valuable shooter for them eventually. Brett Dawson of The Oklahoman writes about the forward’s struggles getting back into routine following offseason knee surgery.
  • There aren’t many touches to go around in Portland’s stacked backcourt but Trail Blazers guard Shabazz Napier has finally gotten an opportunity to prove himself. Mike Richman of The Oregonian writes that the guard’s outside shooting and energy level on defense make him a solid fit alongside C.J. McCollum or Damian Lillard.
  • Count Timberwolves big man Karl-Anthony Towns among those who support the idea of NBA players being permitted to use marijuana for medical purposes. The big man spoke with the media, including Nick Friedell of ESPN, about the hot topic.