Desperate times may call for desperate measures.
With Joel Embiid (knee soreness) and Boban Marjanovic (knee sprain) both ruled out in Oklahoma City Thursday, the Sixers on Wednesday recalled center Justin Patton from the Delaware Blue Coats.
Patton, acquired from the Timberwolves in the Jimmy Butler deal, played in just one NBA game in Minnesota last season. The 21-year-old suffered a Jones fracture in his right foot in September and has spent the last month in the G-League.
The former first-round pick has flashed some of his abilities. He’s playing just 18.2 minutes a night but is averaging 11.3 points, 5.6 rebounds and 2.4 blocks in seven games with the 87ers. Selected 16th overall by the Bulls out of Creighton, Patton has a lot of the skills you’re looking for out of a modern NBA big.
He’s an athletic rim runner, meaning he can get up the floor in transition and defend the rim at the other end. He has good touch and has extended his range during his time out. The free throws (57 percent in Delaware) are still an issue.
The biggest concern will be at the defensive end — and the matchup Thursday isn’t ideal. The Thunder start the hulking Steven Adams but also have two athletic former Sixers in Nerlens Noel and Jerami Grant, who at times plays small-ball five. If Brett Brown mixes Patton in with rookie Jonah Bolden and veteran Amir Johnson, it’ll be a big ask.
With that said, there’s likely never been a better time to get a look at Patton, who will become an unrestricted free agent at season’s end. Plus, we have an idea of what Bolden is and definitely know what Johnson is.
Let’s see what Patton can bring to the table.
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