The New Zealand Breakers have signed two-time all-NBL player Lamar Patterson to their squad for the 2020-21 season.
Patterson, 28, joins the team on a one-year deal that will see the guard replace former import Scotty Hopson.
While Hopson was an undoubtedly valuable addition to the Breakers squad and was in the running for league MVP last season, so was Patterson. The shooting guard averaged 21.4 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 4.6 assists per game over the course of his 2019-20 campaign for the Brisbane Bullets.
His appearances in both the 2018-19 and 2019-20 all-NBL first teams are particularly impressive given no Breakers player has achieved the same feat since Cedric Jackson in 2015.
Patterson was a regular for the Atlanta Hawks during their 2015-16 season, making 35 appearances off the bench and also played alongside Kiwi Oklahoma City Thunder superstar Steven Adams at the University of Pittsburgh in 2013.
Breakers owner Matt Walsh believes the signing is a herald of better fortune for the club this coming season.
"No club can ignore Lamar Patterson if he comes knocking because he's a superstar in this league and statistically has been the best small forward in the NBL for the last two seasons," Walsh said in a press release.
"It's evident after so much bad luck last season our fortunes have changed."
Breakers head coach Dan Shamir also welcomed the new addition, saying that he had witnessed first-hand Patterson's all-round skills.
"Lamar is a proven guy all over the world, and we had major issues trying to stop him when we played him," Shamir said in a statement.
"The signing of Lamar means we now have one of the best starting units I've ever coached."
The acquisition of Patterson means the Breakers have now filled eight of ten roster spots allowed during the coming season after signing fellow guard Tai Webster, Australian big man Daniel Trist and American power forward Kyrin Galloway over the past month or so.
The league brought in 10-man roster limits following the Covid-19 pandemic, with clubs only allowed to sign two imports – although a "Next Star" like RJ Hampton sits outside the roster and Walsh says the club will be signing a "Next Star" soon.
Webster emerged as one of Galatasaray's best players while in Turkey the last two years, averaging 10.7 points and four assists per game in 35 games across all competitions last season, shooting 45 per cent from the field and 34 per cent from beyond the arc.
He has also spent time with Fraport Skyliners in Germany, as well the Golden State Warriors in the 2017 NBA Summer League.
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Meanwhile, Trist will add depth up front, having spent his last two years with Melbourne United and the South East Melbourne Phoenix, amassing 47 games as a role player off the bench.
Finally, Galloway joins on a three-year deal, the first as a development player. He comes off four years with the University of North Carolina in Greensboro in NCAA Division 1 college ball.