It has been an eventful few weeks for Pitt as the Panthers prepare for the season opener Friday vs. Mount St. Mary’s. There has been much talk about the freshmen, lineup shuffling and the lack of chemistry, especially concerning transfer Trey Zeigler who has yet to find his niche.
Amidst all of this, almost no one has noticed that Pitt’s best player at the end of last season has been virtually invisible in the two exhibition games.
Patterson was the eighth-leading scorer in the exhibition games, averaging just 5.5 points per game. Patterson averaged 9.6 points per game last season, but he became the team’s go-to player late in the year. Patterson averaged 13.3 per game over the final six contests.
It might be problematic to read too much into exhibition games when coach Jamie Dixon is attempting to give everyone on the roster an opportunity to make an impression.
But one statistic in particular tells a story. Forget about his 4 for 13 shooting from the field and his 1 for 5 shooting from 3-point range after leading the team in 3-point shooting percentage (41%) last season. Patterson is a quality shooter and will be much better than those stats during the regular season. The alarming stat for Patterson in the exhibition games was his assist-to-turnover ratio.
In the two exhibition games, he had two assists and three turnovers, which is eye-opening because Patterson led the team in assist-to-turnover ratio last season and was among the top 60 players nationally in that category.
Here is what I read into the situation: Patterson had the ball in his hands a lot more last season because of Pitt’s injury situation. He was in effect a point forward for much of the season. Now, he is playing in a lineup with two point guards. He is not touching the ball nearly as much and is in a different role to which he is not accustomed.
Will Patterson get back to his normal self when he gets more minutes in the real games? Or is this another situation that Dixon has to iron out on the go during the non-conference portion of the schedule?
Patterson was great during the Pittsburgh Basketball Club summer league. He won the tournament’s MVP. I had Patterson and Trey Zeigler pegged as two of the team’s top three scorers a month ago. I have no idea what they’ll contribute now.
If Dixon has the same concerns, it can’t be a good feeling heading into the season.
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