Title: Patrick Patterson Was the Raptors’ Underappreciated Avatar
Date: July 5, 2017
Original Source: Vice
Synopsis: For my latest at Vice, I looked at the departure of Patrick Patterson, who stood as a sort of underappreciated totem for what the Raptors became, and how.
It was as fateful a move as the Kyle Lowry-to-Knicks non-trade: on December 9, 2013, the Toronto Raptors dealt Rudy Gay to the Sacramento Kings, intending to kick-start a rebuild. Coming back were Chuck Hayes, John Salmons, Greivis Vasquez, and Patrick Patterson, fine pieces but ones largely included to make unloading Gay’s salary possible. The Raptors were tearing things down, and were no longer attempting to be good.
The way things broke from there is history at this point: James Dolan nixed the Lowry deal days later, the new-look Raptors found an inexplicable, ethereal chemistry that turned a would-be tank into a low-rumbling force, and Toronto had their most fun season in years. At the heart of it was Patterson, who on Tuesday signed a three-year, $15.4 million deal with the Oklahoma City Thunder.
In his three and a half years with the team, Patterson stood as a fitting avatar for the Raptors’ unintended success, and not just because his arrival signaled the start of that period. That the Raptors got good makes sense, in retrospect, given the development of their two star guards and the decent-to-good role players around them. That off-season, the Raptors opted to stay competitive and give it a longer try rather than resuming their teardown, and Patterson re-signing on a three-year deal (along with Lowry) was a strong indicator of that.