Is Patrick Patterson replaceable via the draft?

Patrick Patterson is one of the Raptors four free agents. Regardless whether the Raptors bring back Kyle Lowry, Serge Ibaka, and PJ Tucker it kind of seems like Patterson might be the odd man out.

Even though Patrick Patterson is a good role player he struggled at times this season. Patterson is a great character guy that plays hard but probably will never play at the level of a starting power forward in the NBA.

It’s important to note Patrick Patterson was one of the key pieces in the Rudy Gay trade that sparked the Raptors turnaround. In the 48 games, he played with the Raptors in that season, Patterson averaged 9.1 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 0.9 SPG, and 0.7 BPG in just over 23 minutes. Did I forget to mention he shot 47.7% from the field and 41.1% from three?

Patrick Patterson stats as a Raptor:

Season Team G Min FGM FG% 3PM 3P% FTM FTA FT% Reb Ast TO Stl Blk Pts
2013-14 TOR 48 23:17 3.6 47.7 1 41.1 0.9 1.1 74.5 5.1 1.3 1 0.9 0.7 9.1
2014-15 TOR 81 26:37:00 3 44.9 1.3 37.1 0.8 1 78.8 5.3 1.9 0.7 0.7 0.5 8
2015-16 TOR 79 25:34:00 2.6 41.4 1.3 36.2 0.4 0.4 85.3 4.3 1.2 0.8 0.7 0.4 6.9
2016-17 TOR 65 24:36:00 2.4 40.1 1.4 37.2 0.7 0.9 71.7 4.5 1.2 0.6 0.6 0.4 6.8

As you can see Patrick Patterson hasn’t replicated his first 48 games.

However, despite the dropoff, the advanced stats are still mostly positive.

Season Tm G MP TS% PER WS/48 OBPM DBPM BPM VORP ORtg DRtg USG%
2013-14 TOR 48 1118 0.559 16.2 0.147 1.2 1.7 2.8 1.4 113 103 17.9
2014-15 TOR 81 2156 0.568 14.6 0.137 2.5 0.7 3.2 2.8 122 108 13.1
2015-16 TOR 79 2020 0.534 10.6 0.086 0.4 0.6 1 1.5 108 107 12.9
2016-17 TOR 65 1599 0.542 10.8 0.1 0.5 0.4 0.9 1.2 115 109 12.5

Patman the role player that makes everyone better

Over the last four years, many of the Raptors best lineups has included Patrick Patterson. It’s not really a surprise because power forward has been one of the Raptors weakest positions since Chris Bosh. Yes, the Raptors got Serge Ibaka (also will be a free agent) at the deadline this year and that was a big help at both power forward and center.

Patterson is a good defender who isn’t a volume shooter. Fans may be upset that Patrick didn’t shoot great from three, but he doesn’t take many. His shooting is to keep the defense honest. Patterson also helps out on the defensive end. He doesn’t average a lot of rebounds, but when Patterson is guarding players on the perimeter or in the mid-range it is definitely more difficult to rack up rebounds no matter who you are.

Who in this draft can replace Patrick Patterson?

There is no exact Patrick Patterson clone in this draft and probably no prospect around pick 23 (the Raptors pick) that will be as good as Patterson right away.

TJ Leaf

TJ Leaf played with Lonzo Ball at UCLA. Leaf is power forward that can knock it down from three. There are concerns about Leaf’s defense, but he hustles and doesn’t quit on the play. Furthermore, he seems to have good basketball IQ and is committed to learning and growing his game. TJ Leaf can come in as a rookie and take on that Patrick Patterson role. TJ kind of reminds me of Dario Saric.

Semi Ojeleye

Semi Ojeleye apparently dominated his Raptors workout this week. Ojeleye is another good three-point shooting forward like TJ Leaf. However, Semi is 2-3 inches shorter than Leaf and there are questions about whether he will play small forward or power forward in the NBA. Unlike Leaf, Ojeleye shoots well from the free throw line. Semi is super athletic but doesn’t bring much to the floor defensively. If Semi Ojeleye was a couple inches taller and was a good defender he’d be a lock to go in the lottery and the Raptors would have no shot at drafting him. Semi Ojeleye might not be able to replicate Patterson’s defensive impact, but he might be able to grow into a better offensive player. Semi kind of reminds me of Marcus Morris.

Tyler Lydon

Tyler Lydon is a terrific shooter from both the mid-range and three-point range unless he is forced to shoot from the right side of the floor. His shooting mechanics are so good that he’s one of the fastest shooting bigs in the draft. So Lydon is a plus on the offensive side of the ball. However, he brings almost nothing defensively. If you think he becomes even an average defender in the NBA he could become a really good player. Tyler Lydon would give the Raptors three-point shooting they desperately need, but won’t be able to do much else as a rookie. Lydon’s shot reminds me of Ryan Anderson.

TJ Leaf, Semi Ojeleye, or Tyler Lydon won’t fully replace Patrick Patterson as a rookie. However, if the Raptors bring back Kyle Lowry, Serge Ibaka, PJ Tucker, and Patrick Patterson they will be in cap hell. Losing Patterson might be a free agent casualty in order to keep the luxury tax manageable. In case you were wondering Patrick Patterson likely will sign a contract that pays him eight figures annually. The contract of pick 23 is far more affordable even if you are only getting 60-75% the player Patterson is.

On the flipside, if the Raptors let all their free agents walk they will likely only have roughly $19M in cap space to fill three roster spots (pick 23 fills the 4th slot). After last summer of crazy deals, the Raptors are probably unlikely to poach good free agents off other teams, so that might be a reason to consider keeping Patrick Patterson. However, if the Raptors were to keep all four of their free agents and enter that luxury tax hell they would probably want to dump multiple contracts. Dumping DeMarre Carroll’s contact would be priority one and unloading Cory Joseph would likely be priority two.

It's unclear if Patrick Patterson will be back, but if he’s not the Raptors can replace his three-point shooting via the draft.


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