(Photo by Stephen Pellegrino/NBAE via Getty Images)

Justin Patton Returns to Iowa Friday; Thibs, PLEASE Play Him Before Then

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(Photo by Stephen Pellegrino/NBAE via Getty Images)

I sat on this topic in hopes Justin Patton would make his NBA debut on Monday night. Looking back at it now, that was a mistake. He and the also newly recalled, Anthony Brown, were with the Wolves in Los Angeles. However, both were inactive.

Per Tuesday’s StarTribune article, all signs point to Patton returning to Iowa after that team’s holiday break ceases on Friday. Like a QB apologizing to his WR after laying him out to dry across the middle, that’s my bad. This article should have been done on Sunday. That is when Justin Patton was called up from the G-League. As Damian Lillard preaches in the new Addidas commercial, “strike while the iron is hot.”

That star-studded round-table is going to sell that company some apparel. NO DOUBT. In case you’re wondering, Adidas stock opened Tuesday at $100.59 per share. I’m no financial advisor, but I did take a few business classes at a Public University…

I digress. It’s back to basketball. That’s why we’re here in the first place. We’re here to break down the 20 year-old, 7 footer, Justin Patton:

In 2015, coming out of high school, Justin Patton wasn’t even an ESPN Top 100 recruit. He immediately accepted his first Division 1 offer to nearby Creighton University. After red-shirting his first year on campus, Patton earned Big East Freshman of the year honors in 2016-2017. Here are his stats from his one and only season of college basketball:

Do you see what I see?

53.3% from deep! He shot less than one every two games, but still. That shooting potential is more than (maybe already) there. Seeing anyone put up that kind of percentage from three will turn heads. When it’s a 7 footer who’s this young and athletic, scouts end up with whiplash.

Following his short Creighton tenure, the Nebraska product was the 17th overall pick in last spring’s draft. Originally taken by the Chicago Bulls, Justin Patton was sent to Minnesota as a piece of the Jimmy Butler trade.

FYI – That’s a Chicago fans opinion.

The rookie’s NBA debut has been delayed, due to a broken foot he suffered over the summer. Patton has spent the last couple of weeks playing for Minnesota’s G-League affiliate, the Iowa Wolves. In six games with Iowa, the athletic big averaged 9.5 points (48.9% FG), 5.3 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks over 17.5 minutes.

My excitement/anxiety associated with seeing Patton on the court (hopefully Wednesday) is through the roof. I’m keeping a glass half-full mentality.

Minnesota Basketball fans should recall former Michigan Wolverine, D.J. Wilson:

Wilson was part of a three-headed monster that saw the Wolverines make that amazing 2017 run in both the Big Ten and NCAA tournaments. The Michigan alum was drafted one pick after Justin Patton. He is currently averaging LESS than a point per game with a P.E.R. of 1.78.

You’d imagine our rookie will get some revenge for Richard Pitino. That would be nice. Who knows how much he’ll play, but he should, eventually, crush Wilson’s stats. It would make me feel better if Patton helped put the 6’10” Milwaukee Bucks forward in his place after he helped beat the Maroon and Gold in the Big Ten Tourney Semifinals last year.

Let’s hope our rookie is closer to the Donavon Mitchell side of the spectrum. Mitchell,  who played for Pitino Sr., along with Ben Simmons,  is currently a favorite for Rookie of the Year. The 13th overall pick is out-playing the likes of Lonzo Ball, Jayson Tatum, Dennis Smith, and all other NBA freshman.

Even some of the NBA’s biggest stars are starting to recognize the Louisville product and his 18 PPG:

If that’s the case, hopefully he gets some NBA action on Wednesday/Thursday, parlays that into another strong stretch for Iowa, and is back up with MN before we know it.

Johnny Minnesota @TheJohnnyMN
Minnesota Sports Fan MinnesotaSportsFan.com

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