68 LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE

While Lamar Patterson managed to effect a certain professional nonchalance while sharing the court with some of the NBA’s biggest stars during his rookie season with the Atlanta Hawks, understand that he has nonetheless maintained his sense of wonder.

That, for instance, he watched this year’s NBA Finals and marveled at many of the same things the rest of us did.

Like LeBron James’ chase-down block of Andre Iguodala late in Game Seven, when James’ Cavaliers completed their comeback from a three-games-to-one deficit to win the title.

“It’s pretty much impossible, what he did,” Patterson said Wednesday afternoon, after overseeing a basketball camp at Spooky Nook.

Impressive as that might have been, Patterson was even more amazed by a play James made during Cleveland’s Game Three victory. First he deflected Stephen Curry’s pass and chased the ball down at midcourt, tumbling to the floor while throwing the ball ahead to Kyrie Irving. Then he somehow scrambled to his feet, sprinted to the rim and dunked Irving’s alley-oop.

“That’s something,” Patterson said, “straight out of Jurassic World.”

Patterson, a 6-5 guard/forward from McCaskey by way of St. Benedict’s (N.J.) and Pitt, wonders at some other things, too. Like where he might fit in with the Hawks, a team in transition.

They have already reportedly dealt veteran point guard Jeff Teague to Indiana, in a three-way deal that becomes official Friday. That same day center/forward Al Horford and forward Kent Bazemore become unrestricted free agents, and both seem destined to attract their share of suitors.

Patterson allowed that it’s “a little weird” to see guys depart, but remains philosophical.

“It’s a business,” he said. “All I can do is just control what I can control – and that’s just work on my game, stay in shape.”

That is also his default setting as it pertains to St. Joe’s star DeAndre Bembry, Atlanta’s selection in the first round of last week’s NBA draft. Like Patterson, he is a big guard/small forward type.

“It’s competition, you know?” Patterson said. “It’s just going out there, playing. Everyone wants to be better, so you’ve got guys pushing one another to become a better player. What else could you ask for, you know? I’m just going out there and keeping it simple, just playing my game and that’s it.”

Patterson was originally a second-round pick of Milwaukee in 2014, then traded immediately to Atlanta. He spent the ’14-15 season in Turkey before appearing in 35 games as a deep sub for the Hawks last year, averaging 2.4 points while shooting 35 percent from the floor and 24.5 percent from 3-point range.

He also saw limited action in four playoff games for Atlanta, which went 48-34 and was swept by Cleveland in the Eastern Conference semifinals – a big reason he was rooting for the Cavs in the Finals.

“If we’re going to lose to anybody,” he said, “I’d rather it be the champs.”

The closest he came to a welcome-to-the-NBA moment, he said, came during the preseason, when he looked down at the other end of the court during warm-ups and saw James or Tim Duncan. But he said he was able to tamp down any awe he might have felt when he found himself on the court.

“It’s not hard, because it’s like, the adrenaline just takes over at that point,” Patterson said. “You just go out there and play your game.”

Nor was he thrown off by the fact that he was assigned to the Development League no fewer than eight times, often just staying for a day or two before returning to the Hawks.

“I put it like this: I got a lot of frequent-flyer miles,” he said. “I’m going to take a nice vacation.”

He played 19 games in the D-League – 10 for the Austin (Tex.) Spurs and nine for the Canton Charge – averaging 12.8 points, 4.3 assists and 3.9 rebounds.

Nice as his upcoming trip might be, he would very much like to stay in one place moving forward. But first things first: He will play for Atlanta’s entry in the Las Vegas Summer league beginning July 8, and hope for the best.

He will hope, really, that his days of wonder will soon be behind him.

While Lamar Patterson managed to effect a certain professional nonchalance while sharing the court with some of the NBA’s biggest stars during his rookie season with the Atlanta Hawks, understand that he has nonetheless maintained his sense of wonder.

That, for instance, he watched this year’s NBA Finals and marveled at many of the same things the rest of us did.

Like LeBron James’ chase-down block of Andre Iguodala late in Game Seven, when James’ Cavaliers completed their comeback from a three-games-to-one deficit to win the title.

“It’s pretty much impossible, what he did,” Patterson said Wednesday afternoon, after overseeing a basketball camp at Spooky Nook.

Impressive as that might have been, Patterson was even more amazed by a play James made during Cleveland’s Game Three victory. First he deflected Stephen Curry’s pass and chased the ball down at midcourt, tumbling to the floor while throwing the ball ahead to Kyrie Irving. Then he somehow scrambled to his feet, sprinted to the rim and dunked Irving’s alley-oop.

“That’s something,” Patterson said, “straight out of Jurassic World.”

Patterson, a 6-5 guard/forward from McCaskey by way of St. Benedict’s (N.J.) and Pitt, wonders at some other things, too. Like where he might fit in with the Hawks, a team in transition.

They have already reportedly dealt veteran point guard Jeff Teague to Indiana, in a three-way deal that becomes official Friday. That same day center/forward Al Horford and forward Kent Bazemore become unrestricted free agents, and both seem destined to attract their share of suitors.

Patterson allowed that it’s “a little weird” to see guys depart, but remains philosophical.

“It’s a business,” he said. “All I can do is just control what I can control – and that’s just work on my game, stay in shape.”

That is also his default setting as it pertains to St. Joe’s star DeAndre Bembry, Atlanta’s selection in the first round of last week’s NBA draft. Like Patterson, he is a big guard/small forward type.

“It’s competition, you know?” Patterson said. “It’s just going out there, playing. Everyone wants to be better, so you’ve got guys pushing one another to become a better player. What else could you ask for, you know? I’m just going out there and keeping it simple, just playing my game and that’s it.”

Patterson was originally a second-round pick of Milwaukee in 2014, then traded immediately to Atlanta. He spent the ’14-15 season in Turkey before appearing in 35 games as a deep sub for the Hawks last year, averaging 2.4 points while shooting 35 percent from the floor and 24.5 percent from 3-point range.

He also saw limited action in four playoff games for Atlanta, which went 48-34 and was swept by Cleveland in the Eastern Conference semifinals – a big reason he was rooting for the Cavs in the Finals.

“If we’re going to lose to anybody,” he said, “I’d rather it be the champs.”

The closest he came to a welcome-to-the-NBA moment, he said, came during the preseason, when he looked down at the other end of the court during warm-ups and saw James or Tim Duncan. But he said he was able to tamp down any awe he might have felt when he found himself on the court.

“It’s not hard, because it’s like, the adrenaline just takes over at that point,” Patterson said. “You just go out there and play your game.”

Nor was he thrown off by the fact that he was assigned to the Development League no fewer than eight times, often just staying for a day or two before returning to the Hawks.

“I put it like this: I got a lot of frequent-flyer miles,” he said. “I’m going to take a nice vacation.”

He played 19 games in the D-League – 10 for the Austin (Tex.) Spurs and nine for the Canton Charge – averaging 12.8 points, 4.3 assists and 3.9 rebounds.

Nice as his upcoming trip might be, he would very much like to stay in one place moving forward. But first things first: He will play for Atlanta’s entry in the Las Vegas Summer league beginning July 8, and hope for the best.

He will hope, really, that his days of wonder will soon be behind him.

68 LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE
Read or Share this story: http://gtpa.co/29fjfnI