San Antonio Spurs News

Bryce Cotton Should Be the Answer for Patty Mills Injury

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The San Antonio Spurs currently have 14 players signed to guaranteed contracts for the upcoming 2014-2015 NBA Season. That number could easily jump to 15 following training camp, especially with all the prospects San Antonio is bringing in.

One of those prospects is former Providence guard Bryce Cotton. The 6-foot-1, 165 point guard, Cotton, was a top ten scorer in the nation collegiately, averaging 21.8 points in his senior season. Cotton also dished out 5.9 assists per game during his final year at Providence.

The San Antonio Spurs picked up the pint-sized point guard after he went undrafted in this year’s draft. Cotton played for the Spurs in the Summer League after signing a two-year non-guaranteed deal over the summer.

With Patty Mills out for the majority of the season with a shoulder injury, the San Antonio Spurs will be looking to replace Mills’ production.

Patty Mills played a huge for role for the Spurs on the way to their fifth NBA Championship. After sparsely playing his first two seasons in San Antonio, Mills was able to carve out a solid role for himself this year, posting a nice scoring average of 10.2 points on 46.4% from the field and an insane 42.5% from behind the arc.

Mills provided a nice scoring punch off the bench and the Spurs are hoping someone will step up to match that production.

That player could be Bryce Cotton. Like, Mills, who is 6-foot-0 185 pounds, Cotton is a smaller scoring-oriented point guard.

What makes Bryce Cotton the ideal candidate to replace Patty Mills is their similar playing style, their similar averages, and their experience.

Bryce Cotton embodies everything in a player the San Antonio Spurs look for. He is a hard worker who has found his niche and can be a great system player.

Like Patty Mills, Bryce Cotton had to earn his playing time. Cotton was never evaluated by ESPN, Rivals, or Scout and only scored 4 points per game on one start during his freshman season. Similarly, Mills rarely played in his first NBA season after being drafted 55th overall in the 2009 NBA Draft.

Both Bryce Cotton and Patty Mills are scoring-first point guards. Mills, like Cotton, played well during his senior season averaging 18.4 points.

The best comparison between Patty Mills and Bryce Cotton comes in their per 36 numbers though.

Mills’ per 36 numbers last season were 19.5 points, 4 rebounds, and 3.5 assists. Cotton’s per 36 numbers were 19.7 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 5.3 assists. The reason Bryce Cotton’s per 36 numbers were less than his actual statistical averages is because the former Providence star averaged 39.9 minutes per game last season.

Those are not the only similar numbers. Bryce Cotton and Patty Mills have similar numbers a bunch of advanced statistics categories such as offensive rating, defensive rating, and true shooting percentage.

Bryce Cotton’s numbers may be a bit higher in some categories, but that can be attributed to the fact Cotton was playing against college-level competition, not NBA caliber competition.

In addition to the Cotton and Mills similarities, Bryce Cotton also has had some nice improvement in his senior season, making him a viable option off the bench. Cotton has increased his assist numbers from 2.9 to 5.9 and has also seen a jump in his free throw attempts from 5.6 to 7.6.

Bryce Cotton embodies everything in a player the San Antonio Spurs look for. He is a hard worker who has found his niche and can be a great system player.

His only deficiency, his poor 41.9% field goal percentage, can easily be corrected by the Spurs and shouldn’t be a major detractor for the point guard.

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What is also important to note, specifically with field goal percentage, is that Patty Mills only shot 40.2% from the field in his senior season. Even in the NBA, Mills struggled with his shot, shooting under 42% in seasons prior to his time with the San Antonio Spurs.

If you’re looking for an excuse for why Bryce Cotton should not take Patty Mills’ role in the upcoming season, you would be hard-pressed.

Cory Joseph may be the fans option just because of his greater NBA experience but with Joseph and Cotton being the same age and Cotton proving himself at the college-level, Bryce Cotton seems to be the best option.

What do you think of Bryce Cotton’s chances to make the San Antonio Spurs roster and potentially be the back-up to Tony Parker? Should the Spurs move him ahead of Cory Joseph? Let us know in the comments!

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