New Zealand Breakers axe 'underperforming' star signing Lamar Patterson

Source: 1 NEWS

The Breakers have cut star signing Lamar Patterson effective immediately, allowing the injured import to rejoin the Brisbane Bullets for the remainder of the current NBL season.

Lamar Patterson. Sydney Kings v New Zealand Breakers. NBL Round 5 played at Qudos Bank Arena, Sydney on Friday 12 February 2021. Photo Clay Cross / photosport.nz

The Breakers announced this afternoon Patterson has been released after a rough time adjusting to playing in the Kiwi franchise.

“The 29-year-old has played just six games for the Breakers averaging an underwhelming 10.8 points, 3.6 rebounds, and 1.8 assists, and has not played since injuring his knee against the Hawks on February 22,” the Breakers said in a statement.

“In his previous two seasons with the Bullets, Patterson has averaged 19.7 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 4.1 assists and twice been named an NBL First Team All-Star.”

Patterson said in the statement he thinks leaving is the best thing for the Breakers and for him.

"I have not been able to get into any rhythm on or off the court this season,” Patterson said.

"I'm a routine person, and I've been unable to do it with the Breakers because we've always been moving, and it has messed up my routine for sure.

"With me at my best, the Breakers have a deadly team, but unfortunately, circumstances didn't work out for me.  

"I've got ahead of the situation and done what I think is best for me and the club."

Breakers head coach Dan Shamir said things have been “difficult” for Patterson since day one.

“When we signed Lamar, we knew it was going to be quite some time before we could get him with the team because of Covid border restrictions entering New Zealand,” Shamir said.

"Lamar got to us 12 days before game one, and unfortunately, he was not in top shape to play, and it was a difficult situation.  It influenced how he played, and it influenced the whole team.

"He was getting in shape and getting better, then he got hurt."

With two-thirds of the regular season still to play, the Breakers roster is depleted, especially with Tall Blacks Centre Rob Loe back in New Zealand for personal reasons and Corey Webster out injured for at least another three weeks.

However, Shamir said he will seize this latest issue as an opportunity to rebuild his team in recruiting 196cm Guard Levi Randolph, who has been playing in the Cleveland Cavaliers affiliated NBA G-League team.

In 15 games this season, the 28-year-old American has averaged 12.9 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 2.5 assists.

Randolph replaces the underperforming Patterson, while Australian Boomer Will McDowell-White was signed at the weekend.

"It is no secret in basketball you need creators, and losing both major creators in Lamar and Corey requires replacing them," Shamir said.

"Levi is a different player to Lamar, and Will is a different player again, but in terms of being a functional team, it gives us good weapons.

"Both are ball guards who can create for others, and once Corey comes back, we will have firepower in our backcourt."

Border restrictions mean Randolph will likely join the Breakers in three weeks while McDowell-White will finish quarantine in two weeks, meaning the Kiwi team faces a tough couple of weeks undermanned.
 
"In the meantime, we're going to have to play five or six games, and we're going to have to work hard together and win a few to keep ourselves alive," Shamir added.
 
The team is 4-9 and needs to make up games that were postponed earlier in the season.