I really, really like Patrick Patterson, and if there is anyone out there who thinks that Patterson is being assigned to the Rio Grande Valley Vipers because he isn't good enough to play at the NBA level, or that he is a bust, or anything ludicrous like that... well, shut it. This has nothing to do with Patterson's talent.
Well, actually it does, in the sense that the Rockets don't want to see it rotting on a bench.
The Rockets sent Patterson down to the D-League on Tuesday in order to free him. They want to let him play, but, as Kurt Helin of Pro Basketball Talk points out, there's just too much proven depth in front of him on the professional roster. Rick Adelman has never been a huge proponent of playing rookies, anyway, so this comes as no surprise.
At the same time, you have to wonder what will become of Patterson once he returns. Jermaine Taylor and Joey Dorsey were also sent down to the D-League, steadfastly improved and haven't done much since, though Taylor still has plenty of time to impress. It's my personal belief that Patterson will be the first ex-Viper to make a big impact on the professional club. He is too dedicated and too smart to let a demotion rub him the wrong way, and he is too talented to be kept down there for long should the Rockets need another replacement big body. He's far better than Dorsey, if you want to compare by position.
Don't forget about Patterson, by any means. While this isn't a proven strategy - demoting lottery picks to the D-League, that is - someone needs to set the trend. Patterson can be that player who shapes the development of handcuffed rookies for years to come. Ask Gerald Henderson what good it does to sit on a bench all season long.