Wolves get Creighton center Patton with No. 16 pick

The Minnesota Timberwolves drafted speedy center Justin Patton with the No. 16 pick in the NBA Draft, adding an athletic scorer who burst onto the scene last season as a freshman at Creighton.

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The Wolves acquired the pick in a trade with the Chicago Bulls, getting Jimmy Butler and the No. 16 selection in exchange for the No. 7 pick, shooting guard Zach LaVine and point guard Kris Dunn.

A late-bloomer who received just one offer out of high school, the Omaha, Nebraska native stayed close to home at Creighton, red-shirting the 2015-16 season, before emerging as one of the draft’s most intriguing prospects as a freshman.

Patton averaged 12.9 points, 6.1 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 1.4 blocks per game last season, putting his top-end athleticism and surprising speed to good use in the paint.

STATS provided the following profile of Patton prior to the draft:

“Before the start of the 2016-17 season, Patton was virtually unknown outside of Omaha. During his one season at Creighton, however, he managed to develop into a likely first-round pick. Attending high school about three miles from Creighton’s campus, the nearby Bluejays were the only Division I program to offer him a scholarship. He redshirted his first year on campus before setting records his next, averaging 12.9 points, 6.2 rebounds and 1.43 blocks while earning Big East Freshman of the Year honors. The explosive center was extremely efficient, ranking second in the nation in field-goal shooting at 67.6 percent – best ever by a freshman from a major conference – and connecting on at least half his shots in all but two of his 34 games. While he possesses excellent footwork and agility close to the rim, he also proved capable of knocking down shots from deep, making 8 of 15 from 3-point range. Converting his free throws was another story, however, as he shot 51.7 percent – the sixth-worst mark of the 260 players from major conferences with at least 80 attempts. Another area of concern is his defense, as he would run into trouble guarding physical big men. He fouled out of his final two collegiate games – a loss to Villanova in the Big East tournament title game and against Rhode Island in a first-round loss in the NCAA Tournament. He needs to add muscle to become an effective interior player in the pros but is viewed as having a high ceiling and will be one of the first centers taken in the draft.”