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Rookie Justin Patton Is Finding His Rhythm In Iowa

by Kyle Ratke, Digital Content Manager

Digital Content Manager

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It took a little while, but we are seeing why Justin Patton was the 16th overall selection in the 2017 NBA Draft.

The center out of Creighton fractured a bone in his foot shortly after being drafted, which forced him to miss training camp. That’s tough for any player, let alone a rookie trying to prove himself.

Minnesota assigned Patton to the Iowa Wolves on Dec. 3. The Wolves eased Patton back into things, putting him on a minutes restriction.

On the season, Patton is averaging 10.1 points, 5.0 rebounds and 1.3 blocks in 18.8 minutes per game.

His per 36 numbers tell the full story, though. His 19.4 points per 36 minutes rank first on the team going along with with 9.6 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 2.5 blocks while shooting 50 percent from the field.

Lately, Patton’s minutes restriction have been lifted a bit.

In the Iowa Wolves' 112-105 win over the Texas Legends on Saturday night, Patton played 24 minutes and finished with 19 points, 12 rebounds, two assists, two steals and a block while shooting 8-for-16 from the field and 2-for-5 from the 3-point line.

We’ll see if Patton gets an opportunity with the NBA team, but he's only 20 years old. He has plenty of time to develop and that’s exactly why the franchise has the G-League affiliate.

The Iowa Wolves are 15-13 with coach Scott Roth at the helm, first in the Western Conference Midwest Division. That has a lot to do with Patton along with two-way players Anthony Brown and Amile Jefferson.

The team signed Brown to a two-way deal this offseason and he’s proving why, averaging 20.4 points, 5.8 rebounds and 3.4 rebounds per game while shooting 39.8 percent from the 3-point line on 6.1 attempts per game.

Jefferson earned his deal this year and is averaging 17.9 points and an impressive 12.9 rebounds per game while shooting 62.2 percent from the field.

You should feel comfortable if any of these three need to be relied upon for the NBA team. We’ve seen it already this season with Marcus Georges-Hunt. MGH played 45 games last season for the Maine Red Claws in the G-League and has emerged as a solid rotational player for the Timberwolves this season.

It may take some time, but Patton and Co. appear to be on the right track in their development.