I don't see it with Lamar Patterson.
Sometimes, player evaluation is that simple, even if it isn't. Patterson, who enters his second professional season after landing the Atlanta Hawks as a second round pick in 2014, performed reasonably well in Las Vegas by all accounts. For the week (seven games), the former Pittsburgh standout averaged 13.1 points (on 45.2% FG, 37.5% 3-PT), 5.1 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game. However, those numbers fall somewhat flat when using the eye test, especially against NBA competition.
While Hawks summer league coach Kenny Atkinson has been complimentary of Patterson throughout the week, it is telling that his name doesn't roll off the tongue. More focus has been spent on players like Glenn Robinson III, Brandon Ashley or even Terran Petteway this week, and while some of that is undoubtedly the freshness of that trio when compared to Patterson, it can also be seen as a lack of interest on the part of the Hawks.
Entering the draft, Patterson was seen as a very good college player that simply wouldn't translate to the NBA, and it is hard to argue that point after more than a year. He performed well in Europe as a "rookie", leading some to speculate about a possible return to the United States, but Patterson's lack of athletic ability is jarring.
The now 23-year-old Patterson measured at approximately 6-foot-5 at the NBA Draft combine a year ago, and that is perfectly adequate size for an NBA shooting guard. Unfortunately, most NBA shooting guards at that size present uber-elite athleticism, which is something that Patterson cannot boast. His age and playing style lean toward an older player, but while that can be desirable from a perspective of steady play, the Hawks (and other NBA teams) would have to see more from a 23-year-old with a questionable body.
On one hand, it is entirely unfair to critique a player's NBA chances entirely on two Summer League performances. However, they can be used as context when considering Patterson's inability to explode past even second-tier NBA talent, and without an elite jump shot (he is a good shooter, but not a top-tier one) or defensive acumen, it is a struggle to see a defined reason for inclusion on an NBA roster next season.
Fans of the Atlanta Hawks are justifiably interested in Lamar Patterson's progress, and that comes with the territory when a player's rights are under control by an organization. However, Patterson's game and athletic package appear better suited for the European game, and even with an admiration for his playing style (which I have going back to college), it could soon be too late for a reasonable chance at a full-time homecoming to the United States with the Hawks.