Atlanta Hawks: Who is Terran Petteway?


The Atlanta Hawks have one of the more settled rosters in the NBA, despite some slight turnover this offseason. Most positons are set and there are not many opportunities for fringe players to make the team. The only true battle for a roster slot will be between three players. Lamar Patterson, Terran Petteway and Jason Richardson will face off to find out who will land that coveted 15th roster spot.

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Most fans already know about Jason Richardson due to his lengthy NBA career, but Lamar Patterson and Terran Petteway are more of a mystery. Unless of course you happen to be a person that follows Pittsburgh basketball or Nebraska basketball closely. I would not expect much crossover there for most Hawks fans.

We’ll have something special on Lamar Patterson later in the week, but for now let’s take a look at how Terran Petteway has gotten to this point in his career. Petteway was a two year player at Nebraska, but before that he started his career at Texas Tech.

After one disappointing season at Texas Tech Petteway elected to transfer to Nebraska. After sitting out a season, Petteway enjoyed a breakout year in 2013-2014. He led the Cornhuskers, and the entire Big Ten, in scoring that season, averaging 18.1 points and 4.8 rebounds per game on 42.6 percent shooting and 32.7 percent from three-point range. Nebraska surprised college basketball pundits by finishing the season 19-13, making the NCAA Tournament.

The next season saw higher expectations for Nebraska and Petteway, but it was a struggle for both. Petteway upped his scoring average to 18.2 points per game, but he saw his efficiency dip severely. He shot under 40 percent from the field and for some reason started to take ill-advised three-pointers. Petteway took 7 three-pointers  per game despite only shooting 31.3 percent from that distance. It appeared as though Petteway got away from what he did best to try and impress NBA scouts with a more refined outside game. It didn’t work.

Nebraska finished the season 13-18 and failed to return to the NCAA Tournament. In April 2015 Petteway did what most expected him to do and declared for the NBA Draft. At 22-years-old it was important for Petteway to capitalize on whatever draft stock he had at the time, even though it wasn’t much. He went undrafted, but after a solid performance in summer league the Hawks signed him to a partially guaranteed contract with an opportunity to make the roster in training camp.

At 6-foot-6 Petteway is a bit of a tweener. He’s not tall enough to be a small forward or a power forward and his outside shooting is not good enough to play the majority of his minutes as a shooting guard. He does most of his scoring in the paint and in the midrange, he shot 47 percent on two-point field goals during his college career. His reliance on long two-point jumpers makes him a poor fit for Atlanta’s three-point heavy offense. Where he could help them is on defense.

Petteway was regarded as a solid defender during his time at Nebraska, but he had a tendency to lose focus on occasion. When he defended with intensity he was one of the better defensive players in the Big Ten, but he needs to be more consistent. His body type says Draymond Green, and his defensive profile is similar, but he is not an effective enough shooter to grow into that type of role.

Here is the scouting report had on Petteway before his junior season, the strengths and weaknesses still hold true.

"One of the most prolific pick and roll players in the NCAA, Petteway loves to operate with the ball in his hands and shows nice ability to create his own shot. Shifty and fluid, Petteway is an aggressive ball-handler who operates at different speeds and does a very good job of initiating contact and drawing fouls. He averages over eight free throw attempts per-40 minutes, and knocks down 82% of those shots once there.That helps mask the fact that Petteway is not an overly efficient offensive player in the half-court, converting just 48% of his 2-point attempts and 33% of his 3s.He relies very heavily on pull-range jumpers as a source of production, and as effective as he is in this area relative to other players (he makes 41% of his off the dribble attempts), this can be a difficult way to make a living at times.Outside shooting is another area NBA teams will want to see Petteway improve in. He made a very poor 30% of his catch and shoot jumpers last season, which is not ideal considering how much his offensive role is likely to be scaled back once he’s surrounded with better players"

Petteway played well for the Hawks in summer league, averaging 10.9 points and 4.3 rebounds per game. However, his shooting numbers were a little troublesome (39 percent FG% and 28.2 percent 3P%). Even if things don’t work out with the Hawks, and because of their current roster situation that will likely be the case, Petteway will still have a very successful professional career overseas or with an NBA team that has a less crowded roster. He seems like a high character guy, so hopefully everything works out for him one way or another.

Next: Top 5 Hawks Point Guards of All-Time

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