Patrick Patterson notices the NBA difference

Rockets rookie power forward Patrick Patterson, taken by Houston with the 14th pick of the 2010 NBA Draft, is experiencing his first NBA training camp here in Austin, and he noticed right away that he’s no longer at Kentucky.

“There’s no comparison,” said Patterson when asked to compare the action this week to his college experience. “The NBA is so much tougher, so much more competitive and it’s more spaced out. You can’t really camp out in the paint. You can take advantage of that by driving to the basket, but overall the level of play is more demanding — so many different schemes, plays, defensive and offensive sets.”

Patterson said that while he picked up much of the Rockets offense from summer league, there has been a lot to absorb in training camp as far as the defensive schemes that Rockets coach Rick Adelman is aiming to implement.

“I feel comfortable running the plays from being in summer league,” said Patterson. “But now coming here to training camp, they focus a lot on defense because they want to be a great defensive team. We want to get out, run the court and mainly rebound a lot better than we did last year.”

Starting in this league is the eventual goal, but Patterson is aware that right now is a learning experience.

“I want to start eventually,” said Patterson. “But I know it’s not going to be handed to me or given to me right away. I know in order to start I’ve got to come out here and prove to my fellow players and coaching staff that I deserve to play and start, but I definitely don’t expect that right off because looking at the veterans and where I am right now, I’m trying to get to the level where I can play more and more and get more minutes. I feel I can come out and contribute and do whatever is necessary in order to play more and just overall get on the court.”

Adelman said that the Rockets are missing some perimeter people due to injuries, and as a result they’ve been running Patterson out of position at the small forward. That was a detour from the team’s initial plan, but he felt Patterson, at some point in his career, could see some time at the three.

“He’s got to figure out what his advantages are,” said Adelman. “His advantage [in] floating on the outside is going around the basket, where he’s bigger. So I think it’s a good time to watch him there and look at him because he’s going to get plenty of time at the other spot.”

Overall though, the Rockets coach likes what he sees so far.

“He’s working hard,” said Rockets coach Rick Adelman. “He’s learning about how to play in the league. He’s coming along.”

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