Does Patty Mills Deserve More Minutes Next Season?
During the Olympics Mills certainly took steps forward for Australia as a basketball nation.
When he exploded for 39 points against Great Britain and with that took the Olympic record for most points in a game, everyone had to take notice. He also led the competition in points per game with 21.2.
During the 16 games he played in the 2011-12 regular season Mills averaged 16.3 mpg and 10.3 ppg, and then only 3.9 mpg and 1.9 ppg during the 8 playoff games.
Mills became a free agent at the conclusion of last season and he reportedly got plenty of offers with big dollars being thrown around.
Instead of going where the money was, he opted to re-sign with San Antonio with the hope of building his game in Texas and learning from the best with the likes of Ginobili, Parker and former MVP Tim Duncan around him to give advice.
Don’t forget Mills only just turned 24 so he still has plenty of time to develop in to a solid role player or maybe even something more.
No one would be expecting Mills to start games in front of a healthy Manu Ginobili or Tony Parker, although I do believe he can push his way in front of Danny Green. If he could do this it could mean up to 10 minutes more per game.
With an aging Ginobili, now 35, next season could be a career defining one for Mills.
If he could cement his spot as second in line at the shooting or point guard his future could be bright in San Antonio, as Ginobili won’t be averaging upward of 15 point forever.
Mills certainly has no shortage of enthusiasm, during all San Antonio games you could rely on him to be the first to celebrate a dunk or provide encouragement to his team mates.
Everyone knows Olympic basketball is a very different ball game to NBA basketball, but if Patty can play with as much confidence and speed as he did in the Olympics it should hold him in good stead to have an exciting NBA season and a very good chance of seeing more court time with San Antonio.
Mills appears understand and fit in well with what the Spurs franchise is all about.
A quiet achiever that doesn’t want nor need the spotlight to be successful. The Spurs are a small market team but over the last decade have more than held their own with the larger market teams.
Mills showed over the course of the Olympics that he could compete with the superstars of basketball.
Now he has to show that he can do that in the NBA night in night out.
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