Mike DiNovo-US PRESSWIRE
The Kings haven't defended well or been able to sustain leads thanks to their immaturity and struggle to do the little things well. Luckily, Patrick Patterson excels in some of those areas.
In the full transaction, Houston will receive Francisco Garcia, a second-round draft pick and rookie first-round selection Thomas Robinson from the Kings, while Sacramento will get Toney Douglas and Cole Aldrich in addition to Patterson.
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The Rockets drafted Patterson in the first round of the 2010 NBA Draft with the 14th overall pick out of the University of Kentucky. Since coming to Houston, he's gone from the last man on the bench to an effective role player starter. In the 2012-13 season, he's started 38 out of 47 games for the Rockets and has averaged 11.6 points and 4.7 rebounds, both career-bests.
A capable scorer, Patterson is also a high-percentage shot-taker, shooting at a 51.9 percent mark this season and averaging 49.5 percent for his career. This season, he's added the three-pointer to his game and is shooting at 36.5 percent mark with 96 attempts on the year. He had zero over the course of his first two seasons.
What all of that means is that he's a continuously improving player with potential to be a key piece to an upstart franchise. At just 23 years old, he's got plenty of time to develop into the player the Rockets thought they were getting when they selected him.
Patterson will solidify the four spot for Sacramento and should be a player they could potentially look at keeping as part of their long-term future. The only issue with a move to Northern California is the uncertainty amid an ownership change and whether or not the new management will want to go in the same direction.
The trade will also reunite Patterson with his former college teammate DeMarcus Cousins in Sacramento. The two played together under coach John Calipari during the 2009-10 NCAA season for the Kentucky Wildcats when Cousins was a one-and-done freshman and Patterson was an NBA-bound junior.
As with any transaction, there's a question of whether or not Patterson fills an important need for the Kings.
Unfortunately for Sacramento and for Patterson, they need a little bit of everything this season as they've struggled on both ends of the floor and in virtually every aspect. If there's one area to key in on for the Kings, however, it's defense. Through the All-Star break, they allowed a league-worst 103.9 points per game, and it's manifested itself in their 19-36 record during that stretch under head coach Keith Smart.
The good news is that Patterson is a workman-like player who's not afraid to mix it up in the paint. Sacramento can only hope that his attitude is infectious and others take note, especially Cousins.