When the 76ers acquired Jimmy Butler from the Timberwolves, many people were unsure about the second player that came over in the deal. That second player was Justin Patton. The second-year center was the 16th pick out of Creighton by Chicago(pick traded to Minnesota in Jimmy Butler trade) in the 2017 NBA Draft.
Patton had a tough first year in the NBA. He broke his left foot and would spend most of the season in the G League playing for the Iowa Wolves. In September 2018, Patton had a another surgery, this time to repair a broken right foot, but now he is back on the court. The 7-foot Patton made his debut last week with the Delaware Blue Coats, who is the 76ers’ G League affiliate, and in five games with Delaware, Patton is averaging 10.2 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 2.6 blocks. While playing most of his first season in Iowa was tough for Patton, he believes it made him a better person.
“It was really difficult. It was just me finding my way,” Patton told goforitradio.com about his first season in the NBA. “I didn’t really have a lot of guidance. I had a couple of guys: Jamal Crawford, Jeff Teague, Taj Gibson those guys helped me out a little bit, but I was stuck down in Iowa for so long, so I didn’t really have the correct guidance every step of the way. So, it was a little bit of trial and error, and I learned… I’m probably a way better man than I would be if I went through the path of least resistance.”
The 21-year-old Patton does have decent skills, which he feels can help the 76ers.
“I just bring an edge to the game, length, versatility. and just being able to guard different types of ball-screens, and also being long,” Patton said. “That’s what the Sixers like to do. Now, we probably got the most length in the league, and me being on the team is going to add another factor to that, and also just another 7-footer who can launch threes.”
Patton expects to be called up by the 76ers sometime after the All-Star break. However, due to the recent addition of center Boban Marjanovic, who came over from the Clippers in the deal for Tobias Harris, Patton probably won’t get much time this season for the 76ers. Before he was dealt to the 76ers, Minnesota declined Patton’s third-year option, so he will be an unrestricted free agent this summer.
Listen to our complete interview with Patton as he discussed his return from injury, his game, and how he will help the 76ers when he joins the team: