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Patterson becoming a third/fourth option?

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MBSK 09_10 UK_GA Web 32.jpgFirst of all, this isn't one of your "oh my god, UK lost, let's jump off a bridge" overreaction posts.

No, sir or madam, it's one loss. Calm down. Kentucky is still in the hunt for the national title and still arguably the best team in the nation.

But Tuesday night rehashed a disturbing trend that had UK fans in an uproar Wednesday morning: Where is the Cats' fearless leader, Patrick Patterson? Too often this season, he has vanished down the stretch, either by his doing or the offensive mind set.

So I ask: Has Patterson become a secondary option on this team? Heck, I beg to wonder after Tuesday night whether he's even a second or third option. Based on his shot attempts in the second half - an ugly bagel - it no longer seems out of the question.

On the year, Patterson has taken 205 field-goal attempts, third most on the team. That comes out to roughly 10.3 shots per game, just slightly less than his 11.7 attempts per game last season.

But over the last three games, two of which came down to the wire, Patterson has taken just six, nine and four shots each game, respectively. In both of the close games, he failed to get a shot up in the second half.

(I wish I knew the exact number, but I'm willing to bet that a good chunk of those shot attempts are on second-chance attempts or transition opportunities (35 of his 125 makes this year are dunks). We no longer see Patterson with his back to the basket posting up.)

So again, I ask: Why isn't Patterson taking more shots? There are multiple parties to blame.

For one, Patterson needs to be more assertive. I'm not saying he needs to demand the ball and become selfish, but there needs to be some communication at some point between he, his coach and his teammates that he needs to get the rock more. Say something in a timeout. Have a talk with your coach at practice. Find a way to reestablish yourself, Pat.

Secondly, the new offense has inevitably changed Patterson's playing position. One of the reasons Patterson returned to Kentucky was to hone his face-up game and develop a jump shot. Without question, he's done that, most likely upping his stock for this year's NBA Draft.

But there are certain times you need to be on the perimeter and there are certain times you need your horse in the paint where he belongs. Head coach John Calipari said at the beginning of the year that Patterson's butt would be in the interior when the game was on the line, but that was not the case Tuesday night.

And finally, we all knew Patterson's shot attempts were going to go down this year. This team is more talented and deeper than last year's team, there are more people that need touches, and let's face it, Patterson might not be the best overall player anymore.

But he can't be the forgotten man in the offense. John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins and Eric Bledsoe deserve the ball, but it can't be at the expense of Patterson. He can't become a role player. When the game is on the line, your leader needs to shoot the ball. After all, he is shooting 61.0 percent from the field, tops on the team.

One needs to look no further than the national championship team from a year ago. The Tar Heels were stocked so full of talent that their 10th man could have started for most Division I schools. There was Ty Lawson, Wayne Ellington, Deon Thompson and Ed Davis.

There were only so many shots to go around, but when the game was on the line, Tyler Hansbrough, UNC's bread and butter, had the ball in his hands.

Offensive balance is important, but so is feeding the hand that feeds the mouth. Patterson, no matter what the 2010 NBA mock drafts say, should be the go-to guy on this team. He's the returning leader who has proven over time that he's capable of leading the scoring load.

If there is one lesson UK needs to take out of Tuesday night's loss, it's how to get Patterson reestablished in the offense. Whether it's by his doing or the offense, Patterson cannot become an afterthought.

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1 Comment

I totally agree with this!!! My God, Wall is too over-rated! Cousins is handling his business easy and it should be Patterson and Cousins being the go to men down low. Wall has no shot.. he hits a shot every now and then, and please... sit Bledsoe down when he thinks he can get a foul called every play. I said this before they lost! The team has two out of control guards who drive way too much wih no idea of what they are going to do with the basketball. #1 John Wall?????? No way!!!!!! Go inside is what I say and make something happen!!!! Draw the fouls. Patterson should know by now how to handle himself inside. I did see them strip the ball from him a few times when he recieved the ball down low against S. Carolina... but maybe the passes need to be thrown more directly or catch him open!! I guarantee that his shot percentage from the field is nearly the best on the team too!!! Give Patrick the ball and quit with the 360 misses and drives to the paint that end in blocks and turnovers!!!!! If you got the talent, then do something with it!!! Sorry, your blog is correct though... I'm with you for sure.

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  • Jerry: I totally agree with this!!! My God, Wall is too over-rated! Cousins is handling his business easy and it should read more