Voters won’t give it to him, but San Antonio Spurs point guard Patty Mills deserves at least a few votes for the 2020 Sixth Man of the Year award.
How often does a 31-year-old bench point guard enter a season with all odds stacked against them and outperform half of their team? Barely ever, which is why the longest-tenured San Antonio Spurs player, point guard Patty Mills, deserves at least a look for the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year Award in 2020.
No, he’s not going to get it. I’ll admit that from the jump! With players like Lou Williams, Montrezl Harrell and Dennis Schröder dominating off the bench as primary scorers for their respective teams, someone like Mills stands little to no chance. Even with that being the case, no one inspires their team the way Mills inspires the Spurs to go out and be the best versions of themselves every time out.
Mills is the first man to rush over and pick a teammate up when they fall down. He’s there to provide tidbits of knowledge for inexperienced players when they need it and give the team a jolt of energy when they need a swing of momentum. No on provides a shot in the arm like Mills does, curling off screens at the top of the key and draining contested three-point jumpers.
Unlike the rest of the candidates that I mentioned previously, Mills’ usage percentage isn’t very high. He ranks sixth on the Spurs at 20.5 percent as opposed to Schroder’s team-high 27.2 percent, Williams’ 28.3 percent or Harrell’s 25.5 percent. Even with that being the case, Mills is influential to the team on the court and even more impactful away from it.
As the lone champion remaining on the roster, Mills brings the championship pedigree and winning experience to a locker room dominated by young players. He sets the tempo for the group and bridges the gap between San Antonio’s youngsters and veterans. His guiding voice is influential in the team’s successes, but he’s also the first man to rally the troops when the team falls behind in the win column.
For players like Lonnie Walker IV, Dejounte Murray and Derrick White, Mills is the player who’s never afraid to pat them on the shoulder when they make a mistake. He’ll also be the first man to celebrate and highlight their successes, which is why he’s such an invaluable member of this group.
— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) January 28, 2020
More from Air Alamo
- San Antonio Spurs: Devin Vassell’s drastic drop in minutes is inexcusable
- San Antonio Spurs News: Mills tapped to lead medal-favorite Australia
- Kyle Anderson schools Spurs fans in a Twitter debate about defense
- San Antonio Spurs: 3 Matchups to watch against struggling Timberwolves
- San Antonio Spurs: 3 Takeaways from Grizzlies undressing of Spurs
Besides what he means to the culture of the team, Mills is having the best season of his career in terms of his offensive output. Averaging a career-high 11.7 points per game, Patty is shooting lights-out at 42.9 percent from the field including 38 percent on 6.2 three-pointers per game. This is the highest volume of Mills’ career, which is what makes his percentages spectacular!
For a team that’s primarily focused on scoring without the personnel to be a defensive-minded group, Mills ranks fourth on the team in offensive box plus/minus. Realistically, that should be third because the No. 1 ranked player is sophomore Chimezie Metu, who has only played 73 minutes for the ballclub this season.
Even if he doesn’t get recognized with the award, I firmly believe Patty deserves to get at least a glance from the voters for all he’s meant to this team and organization in a time of transition. San Antonio isn’t used to being outside of the playoff picture and neither is Mills, but he’s doing everything the team needs from him and more given the circumstances.
Mills deserves all of the recognition in the world for his approach to the 2019-20 season.