OKC Thunder: Justin Patton monster game for OKC Blue elicits call up

OKC Thunder (Photo by Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images)
OKC Thunder (Photo by Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images) /

OKC Thunder assignee Justin Patton delivered a monster line in a breakout game for G-League affiliate the OKC Blue. It resulted in an immediate call up to the varsity club.

Justin Patton, the 7’0″ project from Creighton signed on with the OKC Thunder in the offseason. He was assigned to the G-League affiliate the OKC Blue at the start of their season. He has moved between the two teams as injury has dictated. However, he broke out against the South Bay Lakers in a big way.

Patton, prior to the game had a scoring average in the G-League of 10.3 points per game. Against the Lakers Patton had 45 points, 13 rebounds, nine assists, and six blocks! He was one assist and four blocks shy of a quadruple-double, not bad for a breakout game.

What is even better is that Patton helped the Blue to a win. As any fan of the Blue is aware, wins have been hard to come by due to the massive amount of injuries that have plagued the club.

So, where did this game come from? Patton has hardly taken the G-League by storm. He has an NBA contract so the OKC Thunder saw something in him but he has been outplayed by a lot of G-League centers. Of course, I have a theory on that.

Patton with the OKC Thunder for almost two weeks thanks to the injury to Nerlens Noel. He has seen little playing time as Mike Muscala has been Billy Donovan’s preferred back up. However, what he has seen, particularly in the last week would likely have pushed him ahead.


Against the Los Angeles Lakers the Thunder gave up too many offensive rebounds. As a result, the team was soundly beaten by a team missing their two superstars. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was challenged to help out on the boards, to help the team win. His response was a 20 point, 20 rebound 10 assist triple-double.

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Patton also appears to be working with Steven Adams. The passing from the high post to cutting players and 3-point shooters had all the hallmarks of how Adams is playing at the moment. This is the joy of running similar systems with your G-League franchise.

Similarly to how head coach Billy Donovan challenged Gilgeous-Alexander to greater rebounding, it would seem he has also challenged Patton to show him why he deserves playing time. He had the chance to play but he had not done enough with the Blue to warrant Donovan putting him on the court.

Patton went back to the G-League with a mission, a goal. He needed to show the OKC Thunder coaching staff that he deserves playing time. Admittedly against the Lakers, there were no players over 6’9″ on the court to challenge Patton.

This has been the case previously with not every team in the G-League having players Patton’s size. The difference is that Patton took advantage of this fact. He exploited mismatches, he shot over people on the perimeter and showed why he was signed to a contract with the OKC Thunder at the start of the season.

I have been a little tough on Patton this season. The reason is above, I always believed that he should be able to put up much better numbers and have a greater impact. Hopefully, this means that Patton has more games where he dominates in this fashion. If he can, he should get more time with the OKC Thunder.

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To that end, following his monster night with the Blue – the varsity team has called up Patton to be available for the Raptors game tonight.