Update: SCH writer Dakota Schmidt gives his opinion on Patrick Christopher’s game:
Throughout the D-League, there sit many extremely solid scoring threats. But within that landscape, Patrick Christopher has always remained out of those discussions, despite being a consistently great offensive weapon for the Iowa Energy.The main focus of Christopher’s offensive repertoire is his ability as a three-point shooter. Although he doesn’t throw up the amount of shots as other notable three-point shooters (6 attempts per game), Christopher makes those attempts count as he shot 39% with Iowa. Outside of his work from the perimeter, he’s been able to be a pretty solid penetrator. By utilizing a strong first step and good ball-handling ability, Christopher can cut to the rim with relative ease. And when he gets to the rim, he’s extremely reliable as he shot 63% from inside the paint.The addition of Christopher will give the team an extremely reliable perimeter threat to their 2nd unit. Although he may not get a lot of playing time, Christopher should bring a much needed spark to the Jazz offense when he is on the court.
Off the heels of the Utah Jazz’s dramatic victory over the reigning NBA champion San Antonio Spurs, ESPN’s Marc Stein tweeted out the following:
Hearing Utah Jazz, on top of upsetting reigning champs from San Antonio, are lining up Iowa’s Patrick Christopher for @nbadleague call-up
— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) December 10, 2014
The Jazz have officially announced the move today.
Who exactly is Patrick Christopher? The 6’5″, 209 lb swingman was a four-year player for the University of California, Berkley. After spending most of his freshman year as a role player off the bench, Christopher became a full-time starter his sophomore campaign and never looked back. He made a substantial jump that year and produced similar numbers the subsequent two seasons1. As a senior, he tallied 15.6 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 2.0 APG and 1.60 SPG, along with a 19.5 PER mark. Christopher hoisted up nearly five 3-point attempts an outing, but only shot 33.7 percent. He earned All Pac-10 first team honors and ended one of Cal’s top 10 scorers. He finished his tenure there with career averages of 12.7 PPG and 3.8 RPG.
Despite the solid collegiate career, Christopher seems to have underwhelmed a bit at the pre-Draft tournaments and ended up going undrafted. He’s spent NBA summer leagues or training camps with the Detroit Pistons, the Sacramento Kings, the Chicago Bulls and the Memphis Grizzlies2. Christopher has spent time overseas, playing two seasons in Turkey and one with Cholet Basket of France. It should be noted that he played with Utah Jazz fan favorite Rudy Gobert that one season3. Here is the pair in action, spending some time with some local school children.
Most recently, Christopher has been playing for the Iowa Energy in the D-League4. Last season, he averaged 13.6 PPG (53.1 percent field goals), 4.0 RPG and 2.2 APG in 33.5 MPG. The stat that sticks out, and one Jazz fans will be pleased to see, is his 44.6 percent shooting from beyond the arc5. While he was a so-so 3-point shooter in college, it appears he’s honed that aspect of his game. For a team in need of perimeter marksmanship, that will be a welcome addition. Christopher earned D-League All-Defensive Second Team honors. He also exploded for a 47-point game.
His Draft Express profile offers a lot of insights into his game. Christopher is a scorer who has relied a lot on his jump shot, can rebound and has some defensively potential, thanks in part to a 6’10” wingspan. He doesn’t get to the line much.
Since the Jazz waived swingman Jordan Hamilton the first week of the season, there has been a vacant roster spot. In his short time at the helm, general manager Dennis Lindsey has shown a propensity to use the 15th roster spot to give the organization an opportunity to take a look at guys that interest them. Think of it as an extended tryout. My guess is that Utah is inking him to a contract that would guarantee him come January, thus giving them a chance to see what they might have here without tying up finances or roster flexibility. Christopher seems like a hard worker who has improved as a shooter. Potential 3-and-D guy?
The important date on the calendar right now for NBA fans is December 15th, when many of the free agents signed during the offseason become eligible for trades. For example, the oft-mentioned rumor of Utah looking to bring back Andrei Kirilenko for Jeremy Evans and Toure’ Murry could not be consummated until that date6 . Perhaps the Jazz are preemptively filling a roster spot in case and two-for-one deal becomes a possibility.
Whatever the case may be, welcome to the Utah Jazz, Patrick Christopher.