A quick look at what makes Patrick Patterson so effective on offense.

On the latest episode of the Raptors Weekly Podcast, Zarar asked me if “Patrick Patterson could develop into a shot-creator? The question took me by surprise, and I answered “yes” with sound reasoning in mind, yet I proceeded to muddle my point with my usual routine of awkwardness and nervousness. I’m here to elaborate on how 2Pat creates offense for others.

Patrick Patterson has been nothing short of a revelation.

In only 30 games as a Raptor, 2Pat has carved out a comfortable niche for himself on this team. His efforts appear pale in the basic boxscore — he averages 10.1 points and 5.0 rebounds in 22 minutes per game —  but his performance passes the eye test with flying colors. His shooting touch stretches defenses, it forces opposing bigs to step out to the perimeter, and his catch-and-shoot ability relieves pressure for his teammates. He’s been productive, to say the least.

Therefore it should come as no surprise that Patterson is leading the team in several individual offensive categories. He ranks second to Kyle Lowry in offensive rating (120 vs 118), and he ranks first in both effective field-goal percentage (added weighting given to three-pointers made) and true shooting percentage (factors in threes and free throws).

Patterson’s star shines even brighter in context of team-wide statistics. According to 82games, Patterson and Derozan are the common denominators in the Raptors’ top two offensive 5-man lineups (min 30 minutes played). He also leads the team in simple rating (a PER variant derived from plus-minus) at +6.1, which ranks ahead of the likes of Bosh, Wade and Lillard. The offense noticeably improves when Patterson is on the floor. Simply put, he’s a big boss dog, but you already knew that. (A Snoop Dogg reference? Yeah I had to do that).


The offense improves because Patterson is a shot creator who is able to create looks for himself, and open the floor for his teammates.

The majority of shot-creators are perimeter players who can handle the ball — think Kyrie Irving or Chris Paul — but Patterson is the rare big-man who creates offense by facilitating looks. He’s not a fantastic ball-handler, and his passing falls well-short of “Steve Nash-ian”, yet he’s able to facilitate the offense by making things simpler for his guards.

In the podcast, I alluded to the example of Tyson Chandler, whose awareness and athleticism in the pick-and-roll makes a point-guard out of Raymond Felton (a truly impressive feat). While it’s technically true that Chandler cannot create for himself, his timing and his length in the pick-and-roll allows for the play to succeed even when paired with lesser passers (like Felton, god he’s horrible).

Along the same vein, Patterson creates for his teammates with his shooting ability.

It’s no secret that he makes his hay in the pick-and-pop, but pay close attention to his off-ball movement — he finds open spots on the floor, and he makes himself available for a pass. He sets solid screens for his teammates, and forces opponents to trap the wing. This leaves a temporary hole in the defense where Patterson sets up shop.

For example, he’s a pick-and-pop between Patterson and Salmons:

The Heat are notorious for their aggression in trapping the pick-and-roll as both Beasley and Allen move to trap Salmons. Patterson responds accordingly and alertly slips to the open spot in the middle of the floor. He receives the pass from Salmons and nets two points against one of the toughest defenses in the league. It’s a simple play for both he and Salmons to make.

Simplicity allows Patterson to blend seamlessly into the Raptors’ offense, and allows him to flourish with new teammates in Lowry and Derozan. Out of Patteron’s 123 made field goals as a Raptor, Lowry and Derozan have been accredited with 25 and 20 assists apiece. Lowry is a decent playmaker, so his total is unsurprising, but Patterson’s play has afforded Derozan the floor spacing pick-and-pop partner he’s so sorely lacked.

The Patterson-Derozan PnR is rare, but it’s a tricky proposition. For all of the attention paid to his inefficiency, Derozan is still fantastic when attacking the basket. The standard defense for Demar’s drive is to have the big man sag in the paint, but that leaves Patterson open for the jumper. For example, here’s Demar kicking it out to Patterson spotting up:

However, I’d contend that Derozan actually benefits more from Patterson than vice-versa. Defenses will probably concede the open mid-range jumper to Patterson, but an open three is a strict no-no. Therefore, when 2Pat chooses to step out the the perimeter, defenses will take their chances with committing just one defender to Derozan’s drive. For example, look how Quincy Acy (<3!!) merely shows help defense, as opposed to leaving Patterson to cover Demar on this drive:

Patterson’s shooting ability also allows Dwane Casey to stir some spot-ups into the offense. As with most other plays in Casey’s playbook, the spot-ups aren’t very complicated, and can be triggered by most guards in the NBA. On this play, Patterson sets an effective down-screen for Derozan and creates some separation between Demar and his defender. This forces Davis to temporarily hedge, which leaves 2Pat open for a spot-up.

And of course, his spot-up abilities also allows him to pull off shots like this:

In summary, Patterson doesn’t create offense by breaking down the defense with his handles, nor does he bully post-players with impunity, he simply creates looks with his awareness on offense and outside shooting ability. His career averages suggest that his outside shooting will likely cool off a bit — especially from downtown where he is shooting 10 percentage points higher than his career average — but he’s clearly established his role on this team.

Now, the only question becomes: “how much will it cost Masai to resign him?” For the answer to that question, read my previous post: All Eyez on Me: A Comprehensive Look at Patrick Patterson.

  • Andre Julian Ward

    loll, This is a perfect example of why GM’s shouldn’t do whatever the fans want.

    • asifyouknow

      LMAO….True, but it part of sports…fans dreaming of being a GM’s and believing that they know what they are talking about..
      By the way there are plenty of REAL GM’s who messed up royally…lol….lol
      So I feel good about my plan….

  • mountio

    2Pat has been great – no doubt about it. His shot looks pure, but his percentages have been quite a bit higher than career averages (last I checked at least).
    My question is whether he can keep that up (in which case resigning him is obviously a no-brainer) or he has a reversion to the mean ala Salmons right now or ala Rudy will have very soon.

    • webfeat

      Well, he’s relatively young (24) and only has a few seasons under his belt (234 games played) so it’s possible that he hasn’t fully reached his potential, lending the possibility that his career averages don’t mean as much as it does for Salmons or Rudy.

    • Ian Reynolds

      Same thing I’m thinking – it’s all well and good but it’s small sample size. I admittedly wasn’t fond of him ever, even when he was moved here. He’s been pretty good, and he’s nimble for a big man and can move around easily, which helps him get open and create a bit of a mess for his defender. I don’t know about him defensively, though I doubt he’s ever on the court much without Amir or JV which mitigates some of his issues.

      He’s also played so few minutes in his career that even though him and Demar are the same age, I can see Patterson still having time and chances to improve, whereas I’ve argued a number of times that Demar has topped out. Basically the difference is in the minutes played, and the lack of pressure that comes with being moved twice. I know others disagree heartily with my Derozan views.

      • Master p

        ‘Demar has topped out’? DD is gonna make em say ugh? just ask Tim W. inna u mout !

  • webfeat

    Why would you get rid of Lowry and Ross???

    • tweed8

      Because he’s a fan with dreams of being a GM. :)

      • asifyouknow

        True that !

    • asifyouknow

      Lowry will want lots of money you are not going to be able to ink him. Get something now.
      Ross is so up and down, wish he was bigger. Get something for him while you can..

      • webfeatmm

        Why won’t the raps be able to ink Lowry? Money is one thing MLSE has a lot of!

        Ross is up and down because he’s only playing in his second year. I’d prefer to wait another year or two to see how the guy develops before deciding anything. The raps need to take chances on young players because older established players are tougher to attract to our city.

  • Milesboyer

    2pat’s my favourite player these days.

  • consmap

    “How do we stop the Raptors offense coach?”
    “It’s simple. We kill the Patman.”

  • golden

    2Pat reminds me a lot of Donyell Marshall. Similar type of all-round game. Great team guy and excellent young pro with upside. Tremendous pickup by MU, who might end up being the steal of the Gay trade and that’s how teams are built.

    • tonious35

      Well I can assure this with the correlation to Donyell Marshall; if he is over-paid to play with Cleveland, his career goes down the shitter… stay with Toronto 2-Pat

  • feylines

    i can watch that brooklyn gif all day

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  • Bill

    Question for you William!

    Have you ever eaten or drank something so bitter that it tasted like it was poisonous? Something that would make you think you ingested a toxin?

    Because on your recommendation, I went out and bought a 6pack of Boneshaker IPA, and that is the exact taste that it left on my tongue after each sip. A bitterness that goes beyond normal bitterness and starts tasting like poison. I’m wondering if that’s intentional, or if it’s because there’s a compound in there that only supertasters (which I am) can taste (which would be super bitter). I can appreciate the pine and citrus aromas that it advertises but that toxic sensation overwhelms everything else… blech.

    • DDayLewis

      Do you enjoy other IPAs? I’m pretty sure I heard somewhere that supertasters generally dislike the taste of IPA. I’m not enough of a beer afficionado to answer your question otherwise.

      • Bill

        Neither am I, this was the first IPA I’ve tried. Just wanted to check if it was me or the beer.

        • Ian Reynolds


          i know you’re not asking me but i drink a lot of IPAs. I don’t know what super tasters are, but I know that Boneshaker has a much higher alcohol level and it’s unfiltered… the most intensely flavoured nonstout I’ve ever had.

          • Ikonn

            All IPAs are bitter.

        • DDayLewis
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  • Abused Raptors Fan

    While I’m sure his shooting percentages drop a bit by the end of the season, I still see Patterson being offered between 15-18 million over 3 years this summer. Whether Masai matches it is another story, but he should if 2Patt keeps playing like this. And, by moving him into the starting 5, we could trade Amir for some additional depth at center and in the backcourt. 2Patt is younger, cheaper, a better fit beside JV and more talented so it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to spend 13-16 million to keep both if we could upgrade some of our weakest positions by trading Amir, who has value around the league

    • DDayLewis

      Who is offering Patterson 16 million over 3 years this off-season? That’s more than the mid-level exception.

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