NBA Role Player Review: Patrick Patterson, The Raptors Unsung Hero

Dec 14, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Toronto Raptors forward Patrick Patterson (54) reacts to his three pointer in front of Philadelphia 76ers guard Gerald Henderson (12) during the second half at Wells Fargo Center. The Toronto Raptors won 123.114. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Much of the Toronto Raptors’ success gets attributed to Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan, but Patrick Patterson is the team’s unsung hero

When fans tend to talk about the Toronto Raptors the usual names come up, DeMar DeRozan, Kyle Lowry, Jonas Valanciunas and Terrance Ross, but people tend to forget about one of the key pieces on the team, and that’s power forward Patrick Patterson.

The definition of a “star” in his role, Patterson has become the glue that keeps the Raptors afloat. His play will never make the SportsCentre highlight reel, but his performances will almost always help Toronto come out on top.

And that’s ultimately because of the tenacious energy and hustle that he plays with.

Patrick Patterson just knows how to win basketball games; he’s great at keeping the ball moving in the Raptors offense (something they tend to stop doing at times) and he’s also a floor spacer at the 4/5 position (career 36.8 percent shooter from deep.)

Pat forces opposing teams into playing their bigs out on the perimeter against him, because they can’t give up an open three to him.

So, that in turn creates space in the interior to give Demar and Kyle lanes to penetrate.

Now with all this talk about his offensive contributions, you’d think Patterson is type of savant on that end of the floor, yet that couldn’t be more far from the truth.

He’s scoring just 7.3 points per game on the season, but it’s his intangibles and defense that really allows the team to thrive with him out on the court.

Through 31 games, Pat has the 9th highest total plus/minus in the league with a +266 in the 881 minutes he’s been out on the floor. He even has a Real Plus/Minus (3.52) higher than notable superstars Anthony Davis 3.48 and Blake Griffin 3.03. Most of that is due to his excellent defense.

In pick and roll situations, Patterson gives up only 0.72 points per possession to ball-handlers (75 percentile.) While in the post he’s allowing opponents to score just 0.81 ppp; and to spot up shooters he’s giving up 0.87 ppp (73.9 percentile)

Overall, he just does a great job of playing defense in all different type of scenarios on that end. I mean, opposing players shoot a putrid 38.8 percent from the field when guarded by him, compared to 45.2 percent when he isn’t defending them. That alone shows the presence he brings defensively.

Patrick Patterson is never going to be the type of player that puts up big numbers. But that doesn’t mean he isn’t a key contributor in the Toronto Raptors successes as a team. With Jared Sullinger sidelined, it has really helped shine a light on what type of a presence he brings to the Raptors.

And that is why he really has been the unsung hero for the team.

This article originally appeared on