With Landry on shelf, Patterson steps forward

10/16/2013 12:00 AM

10/16/2013 10:31 AM

Kings coach Michael Malone admitted it might sound "cold blooded," but it's the nature of the business.

One player's injury is another man's opportunity.

The competition for playing time at power forward lost a competitor with Carl Landry undergoing surgery Tuesday for a torn left hip flexor. He is expected to miss three to four months.

Consider Patrick Patterson all in for the minutes that might have gone to Landry.

The fourth-year forward had finally earned a starting job with Houston last season when he was traded to the Kings as part of the deal that sent Francisco Garcia and Thomas Robinson to the Rockets.

Now Patterson has to prove again he should be a starter to a new coaching staff.

Landry was signed in the offseason, joining Patterson and incumbent Jason Thompson in a race for the starting job at power forward next to center DeMarcus Cousins.

Patterson said his approach did not change with the news about Landry, and referred to his teammate's injury as "tragic."

"My mindset is still the same as it was in training camp," Patterson said. "Back then it was competing for the power forward position between J.T. and Carl And my mindset is the same as it was before, and I'm more determined than I was before. I'm going to concentrate on the things I was doing to solidify that position for myself."

Shooting and improved rebounding are two areas that would help.

Patterson (6-foot-9, 235 pounds) has struggled shooting the ball in the preseason (10 for 28), but last season proved he can be a threat from three-point range (38.6 percent).

As the Kings look to feature Cousins and provide passing outlets for their guards, Patterson could be a valuable part of the rotation.

"Patrick Patterson is a guy that can stretch the floor," Malone said. "He (creates space), and he has to rebound the ball a little bit better and he knows that. I think he's up for that challenge."

Patterson, who averaged 4.7 rebounds last season, had seven off the bench in Monday's exhibition win over the Los Angeles Clippers. Still, he's aware he needs to improve.

As a comparison, new point guard Greivis Vasquez averaged 4.3 rebounds last season in Houston.

"(Monday) night was a good step in the right direction and that's what I want to do," Patterson said. "If I come off the bench, I want to grab six or seven rebounds. If I start, my goal is eight or nine. I think I'm making headway, making moves in the right direction."

Being a big man that plays away from the basket on offense is not an excuse to not rebound, Patterson said. He plans to pursue the ball aggressively from every spot on the floor.

"Of course, it's easier to get in position if I'm down low," Patterson said. "But if I'm on the perimeter, I'm going to run in and try to get a tap in or try to get an offensive rebound regardless."

Patterson is also working to become a more diverse player on offense. He said he spent the offseason working on improving his post game.

Patterson also said whether in transition or in halfcourt sets, he'd like to be able score more near the rim.

"I just want to show my posting skills," he said. "Let people know I can score with my back to the basket and not only on the perimeter."

Transactions – The Kings waived guard Brandon Heath and forward DeQuan Jones. The Kings have 16 players on their roster, one above the league maximum for the regular season.

Follow The Bee's Jason Jones on Twitter @mr_jasonjones and read more about the team at www.sacbee.com/kings.

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