OKC Thunder: Weaver signs Justin Patton as his first move in Detroit

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

In his first move as the Pistons new GM, Troy Weaver has signed former OKC Thunder center Justin Patton.

It’s rare to refer to a young player as a journeyman but that’s precisely what former OKC Thunder big man Justin Patton has become. In his three seasons since being drafted in 2017 Patton has already spent time with several different teams.

Although the Chicago Bulls were his drafting team he was included in the package with Jimmy Butler and sent to the Minnesota Timberwolves. At the time it was thought Patton could develop into a modern-day big that was capable of stretching the floor while also providing defense and rebounding.

Injuries derailed his rookie campaign when he suffered a broken left foot that required surgery. By the end of the season, Patton recovered and made it on the hardwood for one game. Trivia buffs might find it interesting to note his lone appearance came on April Fool’s Day of 2018. Patton scored two points, nabbed a steal and picked up a foul in 3:44 of playing time.

Prepared to make his mark the next season he again was hit by injury this time breaking his right foot and once again underwent surgery. When the Philadelphia 76ers made the move to land Jimmy Butler, once again Patton was included in the trade package.

The Creighton center worked his way back and by season end appeared in three games. In early April of 2019, the 76ers waived Patton to make room for Greg Monroe who they were keen to have on the roster for the playoffs.

OKC Thunder hoped Patton would become part of the future core:

On August 12th the OKC Thunder signed Patton as a free agent marking the third team the youngster was on in two seasons. Just like the Wolves and 76ers, the OKC Thunder hoped Patton could develop into a contributor for the club.

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In his run with the Thunder, Patton appeared in five games with the varsity squad always in blowout situations. He averaged a meager 1.8 points and 1.0 rebound in those five appearances. He was far more successful in his 23 G-League games with the OKC Blue. He averaged 12.1 points, 8.1 rebounds (2.3 offensive boards), 3.3 assists, and an impressive 3.1 blocks in 27.2 minutes per game.

Although the signs remain of his potential the Thunder traded him to the Dallas Mavericks in late January for Isaiah Roby. The Mavs waived him the day after the trade.

Another former OKC Thunder staff member has Patton back in the news. Troy Weaver was the Thunder Vice President of Basketball Operations until recently when he was selected to take over as the Pistons’ next General Manager. His first order of business was signing Justin Patton. Weaver, long considered a great judge of talent obviously sees something in Patton who is only 23 years old.

The Pistons who traded Andre Drummond may be looking for their next big man. Although Thon Maker is still in Motor City his regression has many believing he won’t be with the club next season. Enter Patton who Weaver clearly likes.

Patton was signed with the Pistons Mid Level Exception and as per James Edwards III, the second year of the deal is non guaranteed. As the Pistons look to rebuild the franchise it should afford Patton ample time to display his talents and grow with the new Pistons core.

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