In addition to Jimmy Butler, the Minnesota Timberwolves are set to acquire the rights to Creighton center Justin Patton, who was the 16th selection in Thursday’s NBA draft.
Patton was redshirted in his first year with the Bluejays and averaged 12.9 points, 6.1 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game last season. While those stats may not jump off the page, the Wolves could not have asked for a player with a higher ceiling with the 16th pick.
The seven-footer is athletic as they come at his size, runs the floor and offers upside as a shot blocker. The thing that separates Patton from nearly every other prospect at his position is that he possesses skills similar to many guards.
The Big East Freshman of the Year was not even recruited until his senior year of high school. Why? Because he wasn’t always a seven-footer. Patton was 6-foot-2 when he enrolled Omaha North High. He grew 10 inches between then and his junior season and started catching the eyes of scouts and college coaches.
Looking at his immediate NBA future, it will be interesting to see whether Patton starts the season in Minnesota or if he will begin his rookie campaign in Iowa with the G-League team. While the potential is there, Patton is very raw and may need some time to be an NBA-level big man.
If he ever does reach his potential, Minnesota might have just hit the jackpot with the 16th pick. Pairing Karl-Anthony Towns with another big man who is this athletic is something that can cause real problems for the rest of the Western Conference.