San Antonio Spurs News

G’day Mate! The Crucial Impact of Patty Mills on the Spurs

Mar 11, 2017; San Antonio, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs point guard Patty Mills (8) drives to the basket while guarded by Golden State Warriors small forward Matt Barnes (22) during the first half at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 11, 2017; San Antonio, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs point guard Patty Mills (8) drives to the basket while guarded by Golden State Warriors small forward Matt Barnes (22) during the first half at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
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In his six seasons with the San Antonio Spurs, point guard Patty Mills has been a joy for fans and teammates alike. Mills’ energy, well roundedness, efficiency and unselfishness have made him the perfect backup to Tony Parker.

Mills’ constant enthusiasm translates directly to the court, as the scrappy guard continues to improve his game. Whether it be as a shooter, defender or facilitator, Mills is always reliable.

Coming off of a stellar performance in the Olympics, expectations were set for Patty Mills. The Australian led the Boomers to one of their best Olympic runs in history and averaged 21.3 points per game. With his increased notability, the bar was set for Mills to have a great year and he has yet to disappoint.

The Stats

In 67 games this season, Mills has averaged 9.8 points, 1.8 rebounds, and a career high 3.4 assists while shooting 44 percent from the field. He has also shot the ball extremely well from deep at nearly 42 percent. Of players with at least 120 three-pointers made, Mills has the fifth highest percentage in the league.

Patty Mills ranks 7th in 3PT% (42.3% on 4.4 3PA) in the #NBA. Show him the money… …on July 1. pic.twitter.com/lL6WrrpgAB

— Paul Garcia (@PaulGarciaNBA) March 15, 2017

Patty has also been a great relief to Tony Parker this season.

In seven starts, Mills has averaged 13.6 points and six assists. He has also shot a stellar 44 percent from behind the arc in these games.

A case could be made for Mills to assume the starting role over the aging Tony Parker.

In starts, Mills has shot better, scored more and averaged more assists than Parker. While it makes sense on paper, this simply wouldn’t be the Spurs way.

Parker has been a staple of Spurs offense for over a decade and will most likely continue to man the position until he and Coach Gregg Popovich decide to make that change.

With that being said, the option of starting Mills against more agile teams such as the Warriors and Trail Blazers may be helpful heading into the playoffs.

Mills is also a huge asset for the Spurs’ bench. His playmaking has allowed Dewayne Dedmon and Jonathon Simmons to implement their athleticism into the second unit’s offense.

Mills often draws defenders, creating lanes for dunks and lobs from the two rising stars. He also provides a step of quickness that Manu Ginobli has begun to lose with age.

Can Mills win Sixth Man of the Year?

In a season riddled with talent, Mills’ name has fallen behind in the conversation for Sixth Man of the Year. Players like Eric Gordon and Lou Williams have become frontrunners for the award, but Mills should certainly receive a nod. His contributions have been critical in pursuing the second best record in the NBA.

With just 14 games left in the season, Mills should anticipate an exponential role in the Spurs’ title run. His ability to make the players around him better is rare in bench players and will be very important in the postseason. His finals experience and playmaking makes him a prime candidate to take a larger role during the Spurs’ quest for a sixth ring.

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Mills will be an unrestricted free agent this summer, which scares many Spurs fans. There have been no indications that Mills intends to leave, but money is powerful. His arsenal of skills can be valuable to any team, but one thing is for sure:

He’ll always be a Spur at heart.

Next: Can This Spurs Team Win An NBA Championship?

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