WALKER: Evaluating Patterson not easy for NBA

It's still hard to exactly evaluate Patrick Patterson if you are a NBA scout. I see him being a power forward at the next level. Most of the power forwards in the NBA now, your Tim Duncans, Kevin Garnetts and Elton Brands, they don't stay close to the basket any more. There used to be a time a power forward didn't roam more than 15 feet from the basket, but these guys step out on the floor more.

The pro teams are wondering what can Patrick Patterson do beyond 12 feet from the basket. I think that is one thing they are going to look at. And now that he has been injured for a second year playing 30 to 35 games in college, they are going to wonder how his body will hold up against an 82-game schedule. They have to think about that and that leaves them with some question marks on him and how he would do.

But when you look at his size, his strength and his potential, I think if he came out this year, I still think he is a first-round draft pick. If he stays another year, improves on some things and shows he can stay healthy, then I think he is a lottery pick. If I was advising him, I think he has to prove he can stay healthy and be consistent throughout the whole year.

What no one really knows is if Patrick can play out on the floor because we don't get to see him do that. I thought coming into this season with a guy like Harrellson who can spread the floor and interchange in the post, I thought we would get a chance to see a little bit more of what Patrick could do facing the basket this year. I don't know if it is because Harrellson just hasn't panned out or is the way coach Gillispie is using Patrick, but Patrick is stuck back playing inside again.

I think that hurts him with the NBA people until he gets a chance to play his natural position because you cannot fully evaluate him on the position he is playing now. Maybe he can play center a little bit in the NBA, but that is not his position.

I know this from experience. I scored a lot of points my last two years at Kentucky because I got stuck playing center. It helped me out in terms of being a legend here at Kentucky, but as far as developing for the next level I think it hampered my ability to do that. I would not want to see the same thing happen to Patrick and his NBA future.

To be true to himself and the school as well, hopefully if he stays around next year when Orton comes in he will get a chance to play his natural position of power forward.

AllWildcats Top Stories