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Ex-Pitt guard Patterson fits well with Hawks

| Friday, June 27, 2014, 5:51 p.m.
Former Pitt star Lamar Patterson is introduced by the Atlanta Hawks on Friday, June 27, 2014. Patterson was selected in the second round of Thursday's NBA Draft.

Atlanta Hawks general manager Danny Ferry didn't mince words when explaining why he traded for former Pitt standout Lamar Patterson in Thursday night's NBA Draft.

Patterson was on the Hawks' draft radar following Monday's workout in Atlanta, his second with the club.

Ferry, who played a cerebral game at Duke, admires Patterson's playing style.

“Lamar really knows how to play basketball,” said Ferry, who traded a second-round draft pick to acquire Patterson, Milwaukee's second-round selection (No. 48 overall). “He will fit into our system in regard to his ability to see the court and pass the ball.”

Atlanta has needs at backup small forward and in the backcourt, where Patterson worked out for some NBA teams as a hybrid shooting guard/point guard.

In all, Patterson said he worked out for approximately 17 teams.

Patterson, the second Pitt player drafted in the last two seasons, said his reputation for playing fundamental basketball is one of his biggest strengths. During a pre-draft workout with Charlotte, Hornets chairman Michael Jordan told Patterson he plays an “old-school game.”

“I'm a guy that's going to do a little bit of everything,” said Patterson, only the third Pitt player in school history with 1,000 points, 500 rebounds and 400 assists. “You can always use a guy like that on your team, someone who can do it all — rebound, pass, score, and make the game easier for everyone.”

Patterson is expected to play in the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas from July 11-21. Atlanta will be among 24 teams scheduled to play three preliminary-round games; each team is guaranteed at least five games.

Patterson's performance there could determine if he's invited to training camp in the fall with a realistic chance of making the ballclub.

“I have to continue to show I can come off ball screens and knock down shots,” said Patterson, whose big knock in college was that he wasn't athletic enough for the NBA. “Get past my man and score, show I can play defense.”

Patterson also must show his new team he can keep his weight down. He said his body fat is almost under 10 percent; it was never that low at Pitt last season.

“One criticism I heard, everybody loved my game, but they want me to continue to work on my body,” said the 6-foot-5 Patterson, who's currently in the 220-pound range. “Hopefully I can get in there and work with the trainers and my body weight will keep coming down.”

Also, Iowa State guard and former Schenley standout DeAndre Kane, who wasn't taken in the two-round draft, signed with the Lakers to play for their summer league team.

John Harris is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at jharris@tribweb.com.

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