Patty Mills has been working hard in preparation for what will be his fifth season with the San Antonio Spurs, a season where he is likely to be a bigger piece of the team’s championship puzzle than ever before.
Entering the 2009 NBA Draft, Patty Mills was about as unheralded a player as you could think of. Mills was selected 55th overall by the Portland Trail Blazers out of Saint Mary’s College and while his rookie season drew price and excitement here in Australia, there was little Mills delivered during the 38 minutes he spent on the court for many to take note of.
His sophomore season in Portland saw growth, he became a regular rotation player and stepped onto the court in 78% of the teams games during the regular season. Once the playoff’s arrived however Mills was removed from the the line-up, playing in only 5 mins for the entire playoffs. This was a clear indication of his place within the team’s hierarchy.
After an NBA lock-out, a brief stop in Melbourne and a season in China, Mills signed with the San Antonio Spurs in 2011 and his career took off. Mills has been a big part of the Spurs for the past four seasons, but his role figures to grow even more this season.
Mills has been a Spur for four seasons now and has grown from a mere towel waver to a vital cog in the team being able to win the NBA championship in 2014. His championship clinching 17 points in 17 minute effort against the Miami Heat is testament to that. Mills notes however that even after that he didn’t realize how important he is to the team. It took being asked to help recruit LaMarcus Aldridge for Mills to realize how much he means to the organization.
“The role I have now with the Spurs has grown and not just by my teammates but the whole organization, and I’m realizing it now where I don’t think I did before. Being amongst that whole deal was a good experience, obviously I had a relationship with LaMarcus from when I played with him in Portland. I get lost in it sometimes in not realizing what I bring to the team,” said Mills during an interview with Roy Ward.
Mills will be a huge part of a Spurs team that will enter this NBA season as one of the favorites to win it all. Tony Parker has had injury issues over the past couple of years, so he can’t be expected to play big minutes like he used to. Add the fact that his primary backup last season, Cory Joseph, signed with the Toronto Raptors in free agency and Mills importance becomes abundantly clear.
Mills dealt with a shoulder injury last season but came back from it towards the end of the year and should be fully healthy entering this season.
Patty Mills has averaged 7.9 points per game while making 40 percent of his three-pointers during his time in San Antonio. Mills has averaged 15.8 minutes last season despite his injury. His career season high was 18.9 minutes per game the season before that. This season Mills is expected to play above 20+ minutes per game now that he is the main point guard off the bench in San Antonio.