As I began to investigate the Houston Rockets vs. Utah Jazz matchup this weekend, the final box score from the previous Jazz game this season led me down an interesting trail. First of all, the team was tired, James Harden was ill and only played 17.5 minutes, the game was really over by halftime, and most starters were pulled after three quarters. Curiously enough, Patrick Patterson was the Rockets high scorer with 19 points on 8 of 14 shooting. He also scored those points in only 21 minutes, which is great. However, we lost the game. More of Patrick’s stat line?: 1 rebound, 0 assists, 2 free throw attempts, and 0 steals.
This lopsided stat line led me to an investigation of Patrick’s career pro and college stats. I won’t bore you will all the specific numbers as you can pull them up as easily as I did, but I will share my discovery. Patrick started out as a post-up power forward at Kentucky and did a lot of unselfish dirty work. He played like a true big man initially and in time developed a jump shot to complete his game. All of that, again, sounds wonderful.
The problem is that once he developed his shot, he stopped doing that dirty work. I watched a video online today of Patrick making a plea to fans to vote him into the 3 point shooting contest at this season’s All Star game in Houston. He also specified that if he could not get into the 3 pt. competition, he would love to get into the skills competition just like……wait for it…..Steve Nash and Rajon Rondo did. So that is awesome. We now have a ‘power forward’ who seems to think that he is a guard. Oh wait, guards actually accumulate assists and penetrate the defense, so that is out. What Patrick has become is a black hole for the basketball.
To illustrate my point, take a look at these key 2012-13 statistics comparing Jazz power forward Paul Millsap (PM) to Patterson (PP):
……….G Min 3pM 3pA FTM FTA Rbd Ass St Blk
PP 14 416 10 27 15 20 73 14 8 6
PM 16 486 10 19 53 73 134 38 14 16
Millsap doubles or triples Patterson in every key category. Free throw attempts, rebounds, blocks, steals, and assists classify as dirty work, and Patrick doesn’t stand a chance against Millsap. The only stat Patrick has the edge in is 3 point attempts (of course), yet has not actually made more 3 pointers than Millsap. In case you are wondering, Millsap has indeed outscored Patterson on the year overall as well. Long story short: Millsap is a complete power forward. He does it all, including the dirty work. Patrick Patterson does not.
It seems possible that Patterson knows how to, but stopped somewhere along the way. However, if things don’t change, expect yet another ugly loss to the blue collar Jazz on Saturday night.