Are the San Antonio Spurs grooming Patty Mills for a coaching job?

Patty Mills Becky Hammon Gregg Popovich Tim Duncan (Photo by Edward A. Ornelas/Getty Images)
Patty Mills Becky Hammon Gregg Popovich Tim Duncan (Photo by Edward A. Ornelas/Getty Images) /

Not only is San Antonio Spurs sixth man Patty Mills being held out intentionally by the coaching staff, but he’s been awfully interactive on the sideline.

Before defeating the Sacramento Kings in the season re-opener inside the Orlando bubble, San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich made note that he’s personally holding sixth man Patty Mills out of games. That eliminates the notion that Patty has an underlying injury that’s restricting him from playing, but opens up another can of worms. From an outsider’s perspective, it seems that the primary motivation in holding Patty out is that this is a time for development and there are a lot of younger players who would benefit from Mills’ playing time.

However, there have been some especially interesting ongoings concerning Mills’ place all of this. The 31-year-old point guard was having the best season of his career before the league shut down and now, he’s sitting on the sidelines with notebooks and clipboards. It’s almost as if Patty is studying for something…

Are the San Antonio Spurs teaching Patty how to be a coach?

At the VISA Center in the sort of on-the-floor seat I never thought I'd see again and makes an NBA game delicious beyond words

Patty Mills, whose emerging activism will be featured in Sunday's @nytimes, is a healthy scratch for San Antonio … toting a notebook as a pinch coach

— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) August 1, 2020

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Well, it would make sense, after all. Mills is the quintessential professional who prioritizes the team over himself in almost every scenario and makes every sacrifice in stride to promote the growth of the Spurs organization. In 2014, he came off the bench to hail triples en route to a championship title and next season, he expected nothing more to come from his role in it all.

Mills is unselfish and dedicated as they come, which is why it makes perfect sense that he’d become a coach. For as much as Spurs fans would like to think he’ll remain in San Antonio once he retires to join the coaching staff, Mills has something else in mind. Just this past Friday, Mills launched Indigenous Basketball Australia as a means of helping Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders to pursue their hoop dreams without letting outside circumstances restrain them.

Through the first four games in the bubble, three that didn’t count, and now one that did, Mills has been observing and giving tidbits of information to younger players on the sideline instead of getting in the game. We know that Mills wants to be more than just a player because of his consistent efforts to grow the game in Australia and to give back to San Antonio. He’s a charitable man who wants to make the world a better place and after watching Popovich do just that, Mills may have drawn some inspiration.

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Besides the eye-test, there’s been nothing definitive to confirm this, but it would make a whole lot of sense considering what we’ve seen thus far in Orlando.