Now in the prime of his career, San Antonio Spurs role player phenom Patty Mills deserves better than the team can offer him in midst of a youth movement.
By this point in his career, Patty Mills deserves to do a lot more than wave towels and rally the troops. The 32-year-old point guard is coming off of his best NBA season for the San Antonio Spurs, but the team is trending in a direction that doesn’t favor his play. The Orlando restart made it clear that San Antonio is prioritizing its youth — Even if that means someone like Patty has to take a backseat.
However, this isn’t fair to the years and hours that Mills committed to this team. He deserves a chance to be a part of a competitive team seeking playoff success. San Antonio should look at finding Patty a new home during the offseason so long as their intentions to bench him remain consistent with the plan for the future.
During 66 games this season, Mills continued his hot streak from the FIBA World Cup of Basketball. He averaged 11.6 points per game to set a new career-high on the second-highest true shooting percentage of his career (59.2%). Patty was on pace to shatter his career-high 159 made 3-pointers in a full regular season in a modest 22.5 minutes per contest.
Well not that much bigger now – massive heart though!!! ♥️ https://t.co/1jyPM2QXQy
— Patrick Mills (@Patty_Mills) September 5, 2020
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Any team that needs a spark plug off the bench or even a low-risk starting point guard could benefit from Patty’s presence. Playoff teams that would benefit from Patty’s presence include the Miami Heat, Houston Rockets, Denver Nuggets and Dallas Mavericks. The veteran’s contract will likely be a deterrent, though not as much as it was previously. He’s finishing what many consider to be a loyalty contract that’ll net him $13.3 million next season.
It’s been rumored that San Antonio will explore trades for their star players and some of their veterans this offseason. Perhaps Mills is a part of that group despite Spurs fans wishing he could stay with the group. It’s a strong likelihood that he stays with the team to finish out this contract, but stashing him on the bench simply feels like an injustice during his prime playing years.
Head coach Gregg Popovich can certainly find ways to get him in the lineup, even if it’ll take some flexibility. If they opt to let shooting guard Bryn Forbes walk, it’ll be easier to facilitate Mills’ minutes in the rotation. However, the youth movement is full of crafty guards who would benefit from those minutes in the interim.
That mid-tier expiring contract wouldn’t be too hard to deal and maybe the team could get back an asset that would help their retooling as the young guys take over.