Philadelphia 76ers: Justin Patton finally gets a chance to shine

(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) /

For the first time this season, Justin Patton appeared in a game for the Philadelphia 76ers, and while his run was short, it showed great promise.

After weeks and weeks of patient anticipation, Justin Patton finally made his triumphant return to NBA basketball in the Philadelphia 76ers‘ 114-106 win over the Orlando Magic.

His minutes may have been uber-limited, earning only nine minutes spread over two runs spanning all four quarters, but in just his second game at the game’s highest level, Patton’s first-round pedigree was on full display.

Sure, he only scored a single point, going 1-2 from the free throw line while missing all three of his shots from the field (0-2 from 3), but Patton racked up four boards and a very impressive three assists in his first game since April 1st of last year.

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And fans in the Wells Fargo Center, as well as Alaa Abdelnaby and Marc Zumoff couldn’t get enough of it.

Earning no less than half a dozen nicknames from the Sixers’ color commentator, most of which were based on General George Patton, whom Abdelnaby is apparently a huge fan of, oh, any time the 6-foot-11 Creighton product got the ball in his hands it was much-watch tv.

Sporting his signature #0 jersey, Patton passed the ball like a young Nikola Jokić in the paint, facilitating two dimes to J.J. Redick for five points, and setting up Tobias Harris for a sweet dunk in the opening moments of the second quarter.

Is Patton’s performance going to make anyone forget about Joel Embiid, or even his typical backups Boban Marjanovic or Jonah Bolden anytime soon? Probably not. For a 21-year-old sophomore center whose career has been plagued with false starts and missteps, it’s nice to see Patton finally return to the NBA and help his team secure a win, following a pretty successful stint with the Delaware Blue Coats.

In seven games of action in Wilmington, Patton has played surprisingly well, averaging 11.3 points in 18.2 minutes of action a night, while pulling in 5.6 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 2.1 blocks, and 1.4 steals a night for Connor Johnson‘s squad. While his performances haven’t been perfect, as Patton has only made about 20 percent of his 3-pointers so far this season, a far cry for his 53.3 percent clip in college, but after missing the vast majority of his career due to a slew of injuries, any progression has to be considered a positive at this point.

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And who knows, maybe with some more seasoning and continued development in the G-League, Patton could serve a valuable role on the Philadelphia 76ers when the playoffs come around, as a deep bench receiver capable of providing a few quality minutes if need be. And hey, if he can actually hit a few of those 3s then who knows, maybe there’s a place in the league for Justin Patton after all.