ESPN has officially embarked on their quest to rank the top 500 NBA players for the upcoming season. As each Spur is listed, I will provide a synopsis and a brief take on why they deserve (or don’t) this ranking.
It’s probably premature to gleam too much from Patty Mills’ 16 game stint with the Spurs last season. He averaged 16.3 minutes per game and was especially proficient in those limited minutes; his 21.5 PER and .604 true shooting percentage indicate that he will fare relatively well in an expanded backup role this season.
But given his current resume, which is contingent on potential rather than tangible results, Mills is ranked fairly by the ESPN.com rankers, who pegged him as the 309th best player in the NBA. For reference, Mills’ stock increased by seven spots since last season.
My take. While I think this is a fair ranking for Mills, albeit on the low side, I believe Mills has an excellent chance to make a dent into the Spurs’ rotation this season and jump 75-100 spots on next years rankings. On the surface, Mills’ passel of skills are perfectly suited to backup Tony Parker — his blinding speed, unabashed confidence, success in the pick-and-roll and away from the ball — and if he can ward off Nando De Colo and possibly Gary Neal for minutes, he could be one of the most pleasant surprises of this NBA season.