The Miami Heat had a very interesting 2016-17 season, starting the season at 11-30 before quickly turning it around, going 30-11 in the second half of the season and nearly coming back to make the playoffs. Due to a tiebreaker with the Chicago Bulls, Miami was not able to make the playoffs but there is a ton of optimism moving forward. With the NBA Draft coming up later this month, we look some NBA prospects that could help the Heat make that next step. Today we will look at a young and talented center out of Creighton, Justin Patton.
Patton, a 6-foot-11, 229-pound beast, only played one season at Creighton but that was all that was needed to prove to NBA scouts that he could be a great player in the NBA. In his only season with the Blue Jays, Patton averaged 12.9 points and 6.1 rebounds per game. He showed an innate ability to grab offensive rebounds as well, averaging 1.6 offensive rebounds per game in his freshman campaign.
He has three huge strengths and they are all on the offensive end of the floor. First, Patton has a great ability to finish at the rim, shooting 68.4 percent on two-point shots. Second, he has a great ability to score in transition. And last but not least, he is very good in the pick-and-roll and possesses some great post moves. All of those abilities would fit well with the Heat next season.
The Heat already have one of the best centers in the NBA with Hassan Whiteside but where he mostly shines is on the defensive end. If Willie Reed signs elsewhere, Miami will be looking for a backup to Whiteside. The coaching staff have consistently shown they can develop players like Patton as a project that could pay off big time. If the Heat were able to play both Patton and Whiteside on the floor at the same time, they might have a deadly duo. With Patton’s ability to score on the offensive end and Whiteside’s ability to defend the rim on the defensive end, there is a lot of potential there.
Patton could be a very good supplement to go with Goran Dragic. With the great ability to play in the pick-and-roll, Patton and Dragic could make yet another great duo on the offensive end for the Heat. He would have the ability to finish at the rim off the pick-and-roll and also get Dragic more open shots on the offensive end.
Justin Patton is an intriguing option for the Heat with their 14th pick in the first round of the NBA Draft. Don’t be shocked to see the Heat call Patton’s name on draft day.