Taking a flier on Justin Patton is good business – following his path to the OKC Thunder

OKC Thunder: Justin Patton (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
OKC Thunder: Justin Patton (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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OKC Thunder
OKC Thunder: Justin Patton interacts with the kids during a NBA Cares event (Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Why Justin Patton is a smart addition by Sam Presti:

The initial thought was why did Sam Presti grab another center with both Steven Adams and Nerlens Noel in the mix. A natural assumption could be the GM is looking to trade Adams. But, is that truly the case here?

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Although it’s still a possibility it’s more likely Presti is taking a flyer on Patton who as outlined was highly touted when he came into the league. As noted, the injury misfortunes plagued the youngster in his first few NBA seasons.

It resulted in him missing all but one game in his rookie season where he played a meager 3:44 seconds in a blowout game. Not exactly the type of litmus test required to measure his potential or effectiveness. Yet, even in those few minutes he managed to score once in his two shot attempts, collect a steal and was a plus 3.

In recent years there are a number of players who’ve benefitted by General Managers taking flyers on them after they suffered injuries. Caris LeVert, for example, was a player many backed off due to leg and foot injuries.

At the time Brooklyn Nets GM Sean Marks didn’t have a lot of leeway with draft picks given how bare his draft cupboard was. Prior to his injury last season LeVert was having his best season, showcased growth in key areas and was on track to be among Most Improved Player consideration.

A similar result is what Sam Presti is no doubt hoping will transpire with this signing. In his first three seasons, Patton got to observe offensive beasts in Karl-Anthony Towns and Embiid. Now with the Thunder, he’ll get the opportunity to work with defensive-minded players Adams and Noel.

Next. How Thunder backcourt duo Chris Paul and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander can thrive together. dark

Since his contract is so economical the OKC Thunder can afford to practice patience. n the end if  Patton takes the next step and lives up to his pre-draft hype then the risk will be worth the reward.