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Lamar Patterson given plenty of minutes for Atlanta Hawks

Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

Former Pitt Panther Lamar Patterson made his debut earlier this year with the Atlanta Hawks. A solid opener with a +10 +/- helped give him more opportunities as he played in the next six contests. Weak performances in limited action (0-7 from the field for three points in 50 minutes over a five-game stretch), however, earned him a stint in the NBA's D-League.

Opportunity knocked one again for Patterson when Atlanta forward Kent Bazemore went down with an ankle sprain. That put Thabo Sefalosha into the starting lineup and the Hawks recalled Patterson to the team. Since rejoining the Hawks, Patterson has not only gotten minutes, but significant ones.

In the past six games, the former Pitt product has averaged just over 21 minutes per night. Patterson is contributing, but has also struggled to be an efficient scorer. He is averaging more than five points per game, but shooting only 35% from the field. Patterson is adding 3.5 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game in his trademark do-everything fashion, but I'm not sure that's enough to keep him around if he continues to shoot so poorly on a team that relies on its offense to win (currently, the Hawks are eighth in the league in scoring).

Making matters more difficult for Patterson is that Bazemore has returned to the lineup from his injury on Friday. With the veteran Sefalosha still around, Patterson could easily see his minutes cut any day now. That already happened in a 20-point loss to the San Antonio Spurs on Saturday when Bazemore and Sefalosha both played for the first time together (Sefalosha didn't play on Friday) and Patterson saw only 16 minutes.

We'll have to see how this plays out but until he becomes a little more consistent, Patterson could find it difficult to continue to be a regular contributor.

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