San Antonio Spurs assistant coach Brett Brown returned to the United States after his Australian team finished eight in Olympic play with a valuable learning experience — teaching a group of young and generally unproven players, Patty Mills was the lone NBA talent, should only help him deal with an understated, veteran laden roster.
With defensive tactician Don Newman and the affable Jacque Vaughn leaving the staff this offseason, it leaves Mike Budenholzer and Brown with more responsibility. He can deal with this responsibility as his tenure with Australia shows.
Brown shares this with Mills, who will also be asked to take on more responsibility this season. He believes that Mills’ performance will carry over to the NBA season, where a potential spot behind Tony Parker is available.
“Patty grew in a bunch of areas,” Brown said. “He grew as a leader. He grew from a responsibility standpoint to his country. He’s highly skilled. He’s personable. He carries the Indigenous flag with great pride. I think the Olympic games experience and the growth of Patty will be seen as he comes back to San Antonio.”
Australia wasn’t fortunate enough to advance past the quarterfinals due to some bracket luck. Had they have been in the United States’ pool, they would have drawn Russia. Given the choice between the two, it’s an easy choice especially considering Mills’ shining moment, a buzzer beater 3-pointer, ended Russia’s four-game winning streak.
Yet one could say Australia overachieved and be completely valid. In fact, Brown believes his squad overachieved. But only with his guidance and players inclined to expend a lot of effort on the floor could they beat more formidable opponents in international play.
“We have a team that’s overachieved,” Brown said. “We don’t boast multiple NBA players. We don’t boast All-European type players. Whatever is done is done by committee, by tremendous team cohesion.
“I think the country is proud of their efforts. I’m proud of their efforts. I feel we maxed out. We got to be as good as we could be.”