Patrick Patterson

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.

Thunder Notes: George, Westbrook, Injuries

While Russell Westbrook‘s new extension with the Thunder certainly doesn’t guarantee that new teammate Paul George will also choose to stick around beyond this season, the All-Star forward intends to give Oklahoma City an audience next summer, a source tells TNT’s David Aldridge.

According to Aldridge’s source, George has been impressed by the Thunder’s culture and by Sam Presti‘s approach to roster building. As the source puts it, George was impressed that Presti and the front office had the guts to essentially retool the entire roster in order to land him and Carmelo Anthony this offseason.

Whether that ultimately results in George deciding to stay in Oklahoma City and sign a new deal with the Thunder remains to be seen, but he appears more open to the idea than he would have been a few months ago. Meanwhile, owner Clay Bennett appears more open to being on the hook for a big tax bill to keep his roster together than he was a few years ago.

Here’s more on the Thunder:

  • Speaking on Sunday to reporters, including ESPN’s Royce Young, Westbrook declined to get into specifics on why he waited nearly three months to sign his extension, but said his commitment to Oklahoma City never wavered. “I like where I’m at,” Westbrook said.
  • Westbrook, Patrick Patterson, and Alex Abrines will all miss the Thunder’s preseason opener on Tuesday, writes Brett Dawson of The Oklahoman. “For Russell, it’s just a slow progression,” head coach Billy Donovan said of the reigning MVP, who underwent PRP therapy on his left knee. “There’s no reason just to throw him back in so quickly, but he’s doing more and more, and he did everything today at practice.”
  • Addressing the status of Patterson and Abrines, Donovan said that it’s difficult to put a time frame on either player’s return, but he doesn’t view their injuries as long-term issues. Like Westbrook, Patterson and Abrines are dealing with knee issues.
  • Earlier today, we passed along details on Rob Hennigan‘s new role with the Thunder.

Northwest Notes: Durant, Wolves, Thunder

More than a year after leaving Oklahoma City for Golden State, Kevin Durant can’t seem to escape the drama that came with that decision. As Weston Shepherd of Daily Thunder outlines, a pair of tweets sent from Durant’s Twitter account earlier this week suggested that the star forward “didn’t like the [Thunder] organization or playing for Billy Donovan” and that OKC’s roster wasn’t talented enough to win a championship.

While those tweets were sent from Durant’s account, they referred to him in the third person, so it’s possible that someone with access to his Twitter published them without realizing which handle he was using. The tweets were quickly deleted, but there has been no explanation from KD, which may be a sign that his(?) comments on the Thunder weren’t far off the mark.

Here’s more from around the Northwest:

  • Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News passes along a couple updates from Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor, tweeting that Taylor has spoken personally to Dante Cunningham and is waiting on the forward’s free agent decision. Wolfson adds that Nemanja Bjelica believes he’s ready to go after suffering a broken foot last season, but the club will take things slow with him in camp.
  • The Thunder don’t yet have recovery timelines for Alex Abrines and Patrick Patterson, who are dealing with knee injuries, but both players are making progress, as Brett Dawson of The Oklahoman details.
  • While Shabazz Napier is one of 21 fourth-year players eligible for a rookie scale extension, he’s not a great candidate for a new deal. As Joe Freeman of The Oregonian writes, Napier is “little more than an insurance policy” for the Trail Blazers this season, and will have a hard time earning extended minutes.

Northwest Notes: Hood, Thunder, Patterson, Blazers

Rodney Hood‘s offseason began with a “frank” exit meeting the day after the Jazz were eliminated from the playoffs, as general manager Dennis Lindsey challenged the fourth-year shooting guard to become more efficient and more consistent — and to prepare for a larger role. As Tony Jones of The Salt Lake Tribune details, Hood has responded to that directive by staying in Utah for the summer and working harder than ever to get ready for the 2017/18 season.

“There were a lot of challenges we gave Rodney,” the Jazz GM said. “What he needs to be doing, his commitment level to his development. And he’s responded this summer. He’s going to be given a prominent role, and his development will be significant to us.”

With Gordon Hayward having left the Jazz for Boston, Hood will be required to take on a greater share of the scoring load in Utah, and as Lindsey suggests, the team’s success figures to hinge in part on how Hood responds to that increased responsibility.

Here’s more from around the Northwest:

  • Russell Westbrook won’t have to shoulder so much of the burden for the Thunder this season with Paul George in the mix, according to Shaun Powell of NBA.com, who believes that Westbrook will look to accommodate his new All-Star teammate as much as possible. Speaking of George, Brett Dawson went into detail on the veteran forward’s intense offseason conditioning regimen in an interesting piece for The Oklahoman.
  • Speaking to Nick Gallo of NBA.com, Patrick Patterson talked about why he chose the Thunder in free agency this offseason and how he envisions his role with the franchise. As Patterson notes, heading to Oklahoma City will give him the opportunity to re-connect with Billy Donovan, who attempted to recruit him out of high school.
  • With training camp fast approaching, Joe Freeman of The Oregonian is taking a player-by-player look at the Trail Blazers‘ roster. So far this week, he has examined Jusuf Nurkic, who is extension-eligible this offseason, and discussed Evan Turner, who will look to bounce back from a poor 2016/17 as he enters the second season of a lucrative four-year contract.

Patrick Patterson Undergoes Arthroscopic Knee Surgery

Thunder power forward Patrick Patterson may not be 100% for the start of his new team’s training camp, having recently undergone arthroscopic surgery on his left knee, the club announced today in a press release. According to the Thunder’s announcement, Patterson will be re-evaluated in four to six weeks.

Assuming Patterson is deemed healthy enough to get back on the court when he’s re-evaluated, he should be able to join the Thunder for training camp, which begins on September 26. However, as Erik Horne of The Oklahoman details, the 28-year-old will likely receive a reduced workload as he continues to get back to full strength.

Patterson, who was nagged by knee issues last season as well, averaged 6.8 PPG and 4.5 RPG with a .372 3PT% in a part-time role for the Raptors. He also shot just 40.1% from the floor for the season, which represented a career low.

While his numbers were hardly spectacular, Patterson’s ability to space the floor and to contribute in other areas of the game – such as screen-setting – made him a valuable piece of Toronto’s rotation over the last few seasons, and earned him a three-year deal with the Thunder. The veteran big man is expected to open the 2017/18 campaign as Oklahoma City’s starting power forward, assuming he’s healthy.