Been meaning to get to this for quite a while now, but former Pitt basketball star Lamar Patterson officially got his start in the NBA. After being drafted in the second round and playing overseas last season, Patterson has made the Atlanta Hawks roster and is officially in the pros.
The decision seemed to be a close one and his hometown paper said he received the 15th and final spot on the roster.
Patterson's Hawks made their debut Tuesday night against the Detroit Pistons and the former Panther got into the game. He didn't waste much time making an in impact, hitting a three-pointer for his first NBA basket in his first few minutes. While Atlanta lost, Patterson had a pretty decent game, hitting his only field goal attempt and adding a couple free throws. In all, he finished with five points, two assists, and a rebound in 18 minutes of action.
Most impressively, he had a +10 +/-, easily leading the team in that category. With the Hawks losing by 12, 106-94, that's a very solid number. Patterson was one of only a few players to generate a plus number at all.
It's obviously a big deal and glad to see he'll get his shot. Patterson has a solid all-around game and while he may never develop into a star, he's one of those guys that does enough to fill up a stat sheet that I could see him hanging around for a while.
While it's great news for him personally, it's also very good news for Pitt and Jamie Dixon as well. It gives the team another player in the pros and along with DeJuan Blair and Steven Adams, the Panthers now have three players in the NBA by my count. That's the type of stuff that will always play well with recruits and Patterson was Pitt's second NBA Draft pick in two years. While the program has struggled on the court a little, getting another player into the pros is a big deal.