The Raptors continue to enjoy the benefits of the Rudy Gay trade from 2013, writes Ryan Wolstat of The Toronto Sun. Three years ago, Toronto sent Gay to Sacramento, along with Quincy Acy and Aaron Gray in exchange for Chuck Hayes, Patrick Patterson, John Salmons and Greivis Vasquez. Since then, the Raptors have the fourth best record in the NBA, while the Kings haven’t challenged for a playoff spot. While none of the players Toronto received turned into stars, the deal created greater opportunities for DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry, who have become one of the league’s best backcourts. “I don’t think anybody expected it, even us players, but the unexpected is always the best,” Patterson said. “I think everyone is happy and proud of how far along we have come.”
There’s more this morning from the Atlantic Division:
- Patterson has become what he calls “a multi-faceted glue guy” for a team that again leads the division, notes Tom Ziller of SB Nation. Patterson is valuable because he can guard power forwards and centers, but is also a threat from 3-point range. A free agent next summer, the 27-year old is averaging 7.7 points and 6.0 rebounds in 23 games, all as a reserve. “Throughout my life being able to cope, to change, and to adjust and being in the NBA it’s the same exact thing,” Patterson said. “You have your superstars. You have your No. 1 and No. 2 and then the rest of the guys you have to figure out how to be effective and cause change in the game. That’s what I learned throughout the years.”
- Nets coach Kenny Atkinson doesn’t plan to grant Jeremy Lin‘s wish to play 40 minutes in his first game back from a hamstring injury, relays Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Lin returned to practice Friday and hopes to be ready for game action soon. Brooklyn has gone 4-13 without him and has sunk near the bottom of the East. “I’d be expecting a minute restriction,’’ Lin said. “We just wanted to make sure everything is strengthened, not just to back where it was but above and beyond where it was, so I don’t ever have to deal with it again.”
- Nets GM Sean Marks is leaning heavily on his background with the Spurs as he tries to build the organization, according to NetsDaily. About a quarter of the staffers the former San Antonio GM has hired since taking over in Brooklyn previously worked for the Spurs.