It was just a week ago that the San Antonio Spurs received bad news. Manu Ginobili was set to miss a few weeks with a groin injury he suffered in last Wednesday’s game against the New Orleans Pelicans. With Ginobili out it’s important for players like Jonathon Simmons, Kyle Anderson, and Boris Diaw to elevate their play off the bench.
The X-Factor off the Spurs bench is Patty Mills. The 27-year-old is averaging 8.4 points and 2.6 assists this season. In the last four games with Ginobili out his level of play has risen. In that stretch, he is averaging 13.5 points and three assists. Mills is a dangerous weapon off the Spurs bench when given big minutes.
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It’s unclear whether the Spurs will free up Mills more. When Tony Parker misses games due to rest, the Spurs call on Ray McCallum for spot starts. McCallum doesn’t see the floor on most nights when everyone is good to go. San Antonio clearly sees Mills as a sixth man who can light it up in a hurry.
On the season, Mills averages 20 minutes, which is more minutes than he has ever averaged in the past. With Ginobili out there’s a chance his minutes may jump to around 25. It’s important for Mills to come in and be more aggressive but at the same time, he must create for others. Ginobili is arguably the Spurs best playmaker which means Mills must get his teammates involved more than he usually does.
Mills has delivered when the Spurs needed him the most. In the 2015 Postseason, he averaged 10.1 points and shot 57 percent from three-point range.
This is Mills time to shine, he must come through for the Spurs as he has in the past in dire times.