Get an in-depth look at No. 9, from his multifaceted skill set to his impressive on- and off-court accomplishments.
As he prepared to make his Sacramento home debut, Kings forward Patrick Patterson shuffled through thousands of songs on his iPod at his locker, searching for the perfect track to get him energized prior to tip-off.
“I listen to an array of things – anything from Imagine Dragons to hip-hop, like Meek Mill and Drake, to R&B and even old school stuff, (such as) Soul for Real and Boyz II Men,” he said of his pregame routine. “I even listen to alternative (and) rock.”
Patterson’s musical taste has since proven as eclectic as his on-court skill set, where he poses constant matchup problems for opposing teams by spreading the floor as a stretch four, using his size in the post and finishing on fastbreaks.
“(I’m) someone who can run, rebound, hit jumpshots, pick-and-pop – someone who’s going to work extremely hard on his game so he gets better every single time he’s here,” says the University of Kentucky product. “(I’m) someone you can rely on, someone you can trust, someone who concentrates a lot on defense and wants to do whatever it takes to make this team better and makes (everyone’s) job a lot easier out there on the court. “
In his third-year campaign, the 6-foot-8 forward has expanded his game out to the three-point line – averaging a career-high 38.5 percent from behind the arc while knocking down 43 three-pointers in 57 games – after only attempting five triples over his first two seasons.
“I’ve definitely focused a lot on my jumpshot, being able to knock around that 15- to 18-foot jumpshot and even out to the three,” he explains. “Due to having great players, (defenders) have to respect and double in the post – like DeMarcus (Cousins) now, Tyreke (Evans), who’s able to cause havoc with his (isolations) and Isaiah (Thomas), who’s able to penetrate and kick and score at the rim – that creates opportunities for you, as far as your man helping. You have to get good at knocking down the jumpshot on a consistent basis when they pass you the ball. That’s something I’ve been working on since I stepped foot in the NBA.”
Patterson first added the instrumental midrange game to his offensive arsenal under the tutelage of Coach John Calipari, after returning for his junior year at Kentucky.
“All the credit goes to Coach Calipari, because I was able to play on the perimeter, I was able to shoot jumpshots and move my feet well,” he says. “Without him, I’d have no perimeter game. I wouldn’t be picking-and-popping – I’d be an undersized (power forward), strictly playing with his back to the basket.”
In addition to improving his all-around offensive game en route to earning First-Team All-SEC honors, the big man continued to put in countless hours in classrooms and libraries, meticulously studying for midterms and final exams to earn a communications degree in three years.
“Other than playing basketball, that was the next reason (for) going to Kentucky,” he says. “Going into my junior year, they told me if I took ‘X’ amount of classes every semester – winter session as well – I could achieve my goal. That’s what I did, and that’s probably the No. 1 thing I’m most proud of. Being drafted was a dream come true, but to be able to have my degree is something not many people in my family have nor people in the world have. It’s something I can rely on after basketball.”
No. 9’s uncompromising work ethic and dedication led him to embrace and make the most of his stint with the Rockets’ D-League affiliate shortly after being selected with the 14th-overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft – a decision that once again delivered dividends.
“It gave me the opportunity to pretty much get a feel for the game, because during my rookie year I was strictly on the bench, due to the fact we had (Luis) Scola, Chuck (Hayes), Yao (Ming), Jordan Hill, Brad Miller,” explains Patterson, who averaged 18.3 points, 10.3 rebounds, 1.6 steals and 1.6 blocks in nine games with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers.
“It gave me an opportunity to start, have a bunch of plays ran for me and be the focal point of a team. It gave me a lot of basketball sense as far as (increasing) my IQ, being a better team player, being a leader out there and pretty much just learning how to play the game.”
After getting his D-League call-up, Patterson learned the ropes and gained sage advice from Hayes.
“His locker was right next to mine in Houston,” reflects the Kings veteran. “We went to the same college, so he was kind of like my rookie – whatever questions he had or if I saw him do something wrong, he was very accepting to hear it. He’s gotten better every year, he puts in a lot of work over the summer and he deserves the best.”
Reuniting with Hayes, as well as former Wildcats teammate and close friend DeMarcus Cousins, has eased Patterson’s transition to Sacramento.
“That’s my big brother,” says Cousins. “He took me under his wing when I came to school and (we’ve) had a great friendship ever since.
“He’s going to be moving in (soon), just to get him out of the hotel that he’s staying in.”
In addition to his familiarity with Nos. 15 and 42, Patterson reveals playing in the Kings up-tempo offense, similar to the style he became accustomed to with the Rockets, has allowed him to make a seamless shift.
“Previously, in Houston, that’s what we did – we were running-and-gunning, pushing the ball in transition, moving the ball, picking-and-rolling, popping, swinging the ball,” he says. “It’s similar here – we push the ball, we have great space and we’re extremely great in the half-court, as well.”
Growing increasingly confident with his new team, the forward has averaged 8.9 points and 5.3 rebounds over his last eight games, – including 14 points, nine rebounds, two assists and one steal against the Bulls on Wednesday.
“He’s an incredible player,” says Cousins. “He’s going to bring it every night and he’s a good addition to this team. He can stretch the floor and knows his role – that’s the biggest thing.”
“He does a little bit of (everything) we need him to do – rebounds, plays defense and just works hard every time he’s in the game,” affirms Evans. “He spreads the floor. (On) pick-and-roll (plays), he rolls hard or sometimes he can pop and hit the midrange shot.”
Patterson has similarly impressed the coaching staff with his energy, professionalism and eagerness to improve.
“Everything you thought he would be from what you heard from other people has come true,” says Kings Head Coach Keith Smart.
Patterson has not only gained support and admiration from inside the organization, but has received a glowing reception from Kings fans, both in person and via social media.
“The fans have definitely been warm and welcoming for me, as far as hitting me up on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram – even walking into the arena, they already know who I am (and are) talking to me, asking for autographs and pictures,” he says. “The fans love the team and each player who comes here, so I’ve definitely been impressed with everything I’ve seen.”
The West Virginia native has also come away impressed with the team’s recent play, during which the Kings have averaged 114 points, 25.7 assists and 10.2 three-point field goals over the last nine outings.
“These past couple of games, I’ve seen flashes of greatness with each and every player on this team – averaging high assists, everyone’s sharing the ball, everyone’s scoring in double-figures, everyone’s having fun,” says Patterson.
Possessing maturity and basketball instincts beyond his years, No. 9, proving to be a quick study throughout his career, is focused on continuing his progress while finishing the season on a positive note.
“I’m going to do whatever it takes to make our team better, do whatever it takes to makes everyone’s job easier, have fun out there and overall help us win.”
– During his time with the Rockets, Patterson had the opportunity to not only meet but gain valuable insight from his biggest childhood idol – Hall of Famer and two-time NBA champion Hakeem Olajuwon.
“(He told me) pretty much just enjoy being in the NBA, enjoy everything that comes with it, embrace the community,” says the forward. “Overall, just develop relationships, advertise your brand and just try to look forward to the future (and prepare for) life after basketball.”
– While Patterson has heard more than a half-dozen nicknames over the years, his preferred moniker has endured the test of time.
“People try to call me ‘P-Double,’ ‘P-Squared,’ ‘Pat-Pat,’” he says. “But the No. 1 nickname that’s always been stuck to me is ‘P-Patt.’”
– A self-proclaimed movie fanatic, the big man says he often attends new film premieres at theaters or relaxes in front of the television during his free time.
“I go to the movies as much as possible (or) watch movies at home on Direct TV or HBO,” he says. “My favorite movie of all time would be ‘Man on Fire’ with Denzel Washington. My favorite TV show right now is ‘The Walking Dead,’ even though I’m behind with my episodes. ‘American Horror Story,’ ‘Son of Anarchy’ are good ones, and of course, ESPN (programs) and ‘Family Guy.’”