Is Patrick Patterson underrated? It all depends on who you ask. Are you asking a casual NBA fan or hardcore Toronto Raptors fan? The casual NBA fan would likely say no. I mean Patterson doesn’t exactly put up gaudy numbers in the box score. At 7.3PPG on 36.5% shooting from the field and 5.6RPG, you probably wouldn’t think the Patman is very good. And you would be wrong! However, some hardcore Raptor fans wouldn’t trade 2Pats for anything. This belief if straight up insanity. Patrick Patterson is a good role player and will get paid handsomely this summer. And frankly, he deserves it. Patterson is a good character guy who puts in the hard work and does exactly what is asked of him on the basketball court.
Patrick Patterson injured his left knee against the Phoenix Suns on Thursday and would be a significant loss to the Raptors if he were to miss time. He is more valuable to the Raptors than any other team in the NBA. Patterson box plus/minus (BPM) last season was +1 and this season it’s +1.7 as I write this article. Last season, his value over replacement player (VORP) was 1.5. This season Patterson’s VORP 0.8. For comparison, DeMar DeRozan’s BPM this season is +1.5 and VORP is 1. Before we jump to conclusions and say Patterson is just as good as DeRozan we have to ask ourselves why are Patterson’s advanced stats great? The answer is simple. Last season the Raptors other main power forward was Luis Scola. He might have looked competent at times shooting the basketball, but he was deplorable on defense. This season the Raptors other main power forward is rookie Pascal Siakam. Siakam has been impressive for the 27th pick, but he really hasn’t been a good NBA player this season. Pascal’s BPM is -0.1 and VORP is 0.3.
Patterson has had better seasons as a Raptor. In his first 48 games with the Raptors (after being traded), Patterson averaged 9.1PPG, 5.1RPG, 0.9SPG, 0.7BPG, and shooting FG 47.7% (41.1% from 3) in just a little over 23MPG. His BPM that season was +2.8 and VORP was 1.4. The next season Patrick averaged 8PPG, 5.3RPG, 0.7SPG, 0.5BPG, and shooting FG 44.9% (37.1% from 3) in less than 27MPG. His BPM that season was +3.2 and VORP was 2.8.
Patrick Patterson does make the players around him better the way he spaces the floor and plays defense. The Raptors weakest position is power forward, so, of course, the Raptors best lineups would include him. Patterson has seen his minutes climb to a career high of over 29 minutes per game this season. If the Raptors has another good option at power forward, Patterson would likely not play more than 25MPG which seems to be the mark where he has played the best for the Raptors.
Patterson has been an efficient player for the majority of his time with the Raptors. He’s never averaged more than one turnover per game. Although he may go into shooting slumps at times. he keeps the defense honest. Since Patterson isn’t a high-volume shooter or focal point of the offense his shooting percentage likely doesn’t affect the outcome of most games. The Raptors have had high volume shooting role players in the past that could shoot the Raptors in or out of a game such as Lou Williams and Greivis Vasquez. Those players were great to watch when their shots were falling and a train wreck when they were tossing bricks. You shouldn’t want a player that is only good 60% of the time. However, you should want a player that is good every time. Patterson's shot may not be good in every game, but for the most part, he’s finding a way to make a positive impact on the court.
Patrick Patterson is underrated by some, overrated by others, but should be loved by all.