The 24-year-old veteran continues to take the same steadfast approach he hopes will earn him a starting nod with the Sacramento Kings.
“I’m just as hungry as I was before and I’m (just as) determined as I was before,” Patterson said yesterday when asked if Landry’s injury has raised his sense of urgency in his position battle at power forward. ”(I’m) gonna concentrate on doing the things that I need to do in order to solidify that position for myself.”
Patterson wants to start for this team. But more importantly, he wants to play. The former Kentucky Wildcat knows that even with Landry’s extended absence, playing time will come at a premium because of the Kings’ depth on the frontline. His main competition for minutes at power forward is sixth-year veteran Jason Thompson, but head coach Michael Malone may look to Travis Outlaw, Luc Mbah a Moute and Chuck Hayes, too.
With that in mind, Patterson is aware that he’ll have to adapt to other positions in order to play consistent minutes this season.
“I can play 5,” Patterson said of where he’s prepared to find playing time. “I’ve done that my whole life, but it just depends on who that (opposing) 5 is. Same with the 3. I’ve never played much 3 before, but depending on who that 3 is, I’ll gladly take it.
“It’s just about whatever helps my teammates out,” Patterson added. ”If it gets me out on the court, I’ll gladly do it.”
Patterson is hoping to also show off a few new facets of his game. He spent time in Santa Barbara this offseason developing his skills in the post and already put some of it to use against the Clippers on Tuesday.
“I’m trying to work on my post-game,” Patterson said. ”Take advantage of my opportunities. Did a little bit of that against the Clippers (and) put myself in position to score in the post, whether it’s in transition or capitalizing on my opportunities if I do catch the ball down low.”
But Patterson still understands that the heart of his offensive game rests on the perimeter. He knows that his value to the Kings comes from the room he can create as a shooter from the power forward position.
“I see myself as a spacing four,” Patterson said. ”A guy who can spread the court and provide driving lanes, opportunities for my teammates and also mismatches on the court. (I can) knock down jumpers from the three (and) mid-range and provide more opportunities for DeMarcus (Cousins) to score down low with my spacing capability.”
Rebounding is another area of emphasis for Patterson as he vies for playing time this year. He didn’t rebound particularly well in the Kings’ first two preseason games, but moved in the right direction on Tuesday when he grabbed seven boards against the Clippers. Whether he’s starting or coming off the bench, Patterson has a specific set of goals when it comes to being a better rebounder this season.
“If I come off the bench, I want to grab six or seven rebounds.” Patterson said. ”If I start, my goal is around eight or nine. I think I’m making headway, making moves in the right direction.”
Patterson has plenty riding on this year. Entering the final season of his rookie deal, the fourth-year forward is eligible for a contract extension on Oct. 31. A new deal before Halloween seems unlikely at this point, meaning Patterson will probably enter the offseason as a restricted free agent.
The Kings veteran forward clearly has a lot to gain and a lot to lose this season. Staying steadfast in his approach can only help in his pursuit of success.