Patty Mills Proving Himself In Rio
By John Vasington
Skeptics of the San Antonio Spurs often point to a lack of depth at the point guard position as one of their primary criticisms.
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This summer in Rio, Patty Mills is changing that perception by proving to be an incredibly suitable guard for the future. The Australian native has played admirably for his home country this summer.
The style the Aussie Olympic team plays with is a team-oriented game which involves players finding their roles within an offense, a style and mentality that is similar to the Spurs. Mills has displayed for years that he can function well in atmospheres such as this, but he has not really shown until this summer his ability to be a primary scorer when needed.
Australia took the court against the United States the other night as blatant underdogs. Few NBA players come from “down under” and the most talented player from the country is not even playing in the Olympics. This forced guys who are rotation players at best in the NBA to face off against a USA team boasting 12 NBA stars. Nonetheless, they were able to play the USA in a tight match up and until the closing minutes.
Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports
The proximity of the game down the stretch had a lot to do with inefficiencies of the USA team that day, but it was also a testament to Australia’s coach for finding some areas of weakness to exploit. However, even when USA is having an off day and their opponents execute well defensively, it takes a spectacular individual performance for a team to remain close down the stretch in a game against Krzyzewski’s squad. For Australia, that performance was delivered by Patty Mills.
Mills attacked superior point guards with reckless abandon and turned into a go-to scorer and knock-down shooter with some of the best defender’s in the league keying in on him. He scored 30 points by rising to the challenge at hand and recognizing Australia needed someone to provide firepower.
Obviously, this was no NBA game, and when the Spurs’ season picks back up Mills will not be putting up 30 points per game. That said, Mills did take advantage of an opportunity and made a name for himself.
He proved that he is a better scorer than many gave him credit for. He also showed that when Tony Parker finally decides he has laced them up for the last time, the Spurs will not be lost without his presence. They will still have a talented player and leader bringing the ball up the floor.
Many believe Dejounte Murray will become the point guard of the future for the Spurs, but he remains a few years away from realizing his potential. One can assume all of those “few years” cannot be played with Parker playing such a large role on a Spurs team that is ushering in a new wave of talent.
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Rest assured San Antonio, Mills has you covered. He will continue to don the silver and black will be the capable floor general that the Spurs will need when Parker is ultimately gone.