This offseason, former Wildcat Patrick Patterson is set to become an unrestricted free agent, and he may be gearing up for a massive pay day.
According to Raptors Assessinator, Patterson has the durability, efficiency, and shooting ability for teams to drool over, and someone will almost certainly overpay for him when he hits the open market.
As far as durability goes, Patterson played in 79 of 82 regular season games last year, and 81 of 82 the year before, good for third on the team behind just Bismack Biyombo and Cory Joseph.
Durability also adds to a player’s value, after all, no team likes paying for a guy like Derrick Rose whose game status changes more frequently than my relationship status. In terms of other Power Forwards, last season there were only six who averaged more than 25 minutes and played in at least 79 games: Draymond Green, Paul Millsap, Marvin Williams, Julius Randle, and Marcus Morris, and, you guessed it: Patterson.
As a shooter, Patterson flourished, and put up comparable numbers to some of the top stretch-fours in the NBA.
Last season, Patterson had a true shooting percentage of 53.4% (the league’s average per basketball-reference.com) and shot a cool 36.2% from deep. Putting this into Power Forward context, Ryan Anderson and Dirk Nowitzki shot 36.6% and 36.8% from downtown, respectively. Those guys built their reputation on being deadly 3-point shooters, so it’s not a leap to suggest that Patterson can shoot with some of the best stretch fours in the NBA. GMs are probably salivating at Patterson’s ability to bend a defense like a Cirque de Soleil performer.
Patterson was unbelievably efficient last year, as well, finishing in the top 15 power forwards in the league in terms of Real Plus Minus numbers.
Last year, Patterson ranked 15th among Power Forwards in RPM. Per ESPN.com, Patterson’s RPM indicates that he was responsible for approximately 6.24 of the Raptors’ wins last season. Notable players who rank ahead of Patterson in RPM rankings are LaMarcus Aldridge (12th), Chris Bosh (13th), and Blake Griffin (14th). Both Bosh and Griffin had some exceptional circumstances, which, likely led to a depressed RPM for their talent level, but again, he’s in the company of some really good (and highly paid) Power Forwards and should get paid accordingly.
Other notable free agents at power forward next offseason are Blake Griffin and Serge Ibaka, but beyond that, the cupboard is fairly bare. For what Patterson brings to the table, and limited supply of PFs to go around in free agency, this will be the perfect opportunity for the former Wildcat to cash in.
But what will Patterson’s new contract look like?
I’m still trying to get a grip on the underlying stats part of it, but according to Schimanski’s model, Patterson is worth 9.24% of a team’s salary cap. For 2017/2018, the salary cap is estimated to be $102 million, making Patterson’s worth under Schimanski’s model approximately $9.5 million (for next year alone). I’m not smart like Schimanski, but I just think Patterson’s worth a bit more than that. He’s a two-way Power Forward and can play small ball Centre. Oh yeah, he can also stretch the floor, doesn’t need plays called for him, plays perimeter D, is built like an ox, and is entering into the prime of his career. While Schimanski’s model may be “accurate” in the hard core numbers sense, we still need to factor in supply and demand.
In light of the above, don’t be shocked to see teams offer Patterson a deal in the range of $65-$70 million over four years or $16-$18 million per year, and maybe even higher if he has a better 2016/2017 season.
Patterson was a fan favorite in his time at UK, and he continues to be in the NBA. He’s proven himself as a class act, fantastic teammate, and top performer on the court. This offseason, that success is most definitely going to pay off.