Justin Patton came to the Minnesota Timberwolves as part of the Jimmy Butler trade and left for Philly alongside him, too. Now that he’s been waived, is his career already over?
Justin Patton’s time with the Minnesota Timberwolves was always something that seemed like it it could, or at least should, grow into something positive.
Despite breaking a foot during each preseason in Minnesota, Patton was spending time with the team learning the culture and maturing as an NBA player on a mental level. He absolutely had a lot of ability coming out of Creighton; Patton was the No. 16 pick in the draft for a reason.
However, his single, four-minute appearance was all the Timberwolves saw of him at the NBA level before he was shipped off to the 76ers alongside Jimmy Butler in November of last year.
With a history of nursing injured young players to health, Philadelphia may have been the ideal spot for Patton to land. Not only did the staff have experience dealing with significant injuries to both Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, but Patton had the familiarity of Butler alongside him as he worked toward recovery.
Things started to look up for Patton when the 76ers trusted his health enough to get him back on the court in early March.
However, after just three appearances for Philadelphia, Patton was waived to make room for veteran free agent Greg Monroe.
Now, Patton remains without a team, without a job, and without much to advertise himself with. His solid stints in the G League are one thing, but he’ll need to latch on with another organization before getting the chance to prove himself once again.
As of right now, all seems to be quiet on Patton’s front, although April clearly isn’t the time of year for an unproven center to find himself a role on a competing team. There may be a small market for Patton in free agency, whether it’s on a training camp deal or perhaps as a two-way player, but only time will tell.
Patton’s health will be a major concern for any interested party, as will his inexperience in the top league. Patton may have been a draft pick worth developing two years ago, however now he has aged and his body is showing signs of wear and tear.
Not only that, but any team pursuing Patton’s services will be paying a player they’re essentially blind on. He’s two years past any college highlights he may have had, and his sporadic NBA appearances were short-lived and unimpressive.
Any team signing Patton will essentially be adding an extra draft pick, albeit without the rookie contract attached to it. That being said, Patton might be an intriguing prospect for the right team, he showed promise coming out of college, and if he stays healthy he may work his way into becoming a solid contributor in the NBA.
All things considered, it seems more likely that we see Patton in the G League next season and for the foreseeable future. Here’s hoping for a quick recovery for Justin and that we’ll get a chance to see him in the NBA at some point in the not-too-distant future.