Found August 17, 2012 on Project Spurs:

To expect something could mean that you see yourself or someone else having the ability to achieve success in a particular individual task.PM

Now let’s have a look at San Antonio Spurs guard Patty Mills. There’s a bit of confusion regarding the expectations this coming season concerning Mills and the Spurs. First, Spurs assistant coach and head coach of Australian basketball Brett Brown said he, Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich, and  Tony Parker expect Mills to have a huge leap and a more prominent role this coming season.

But on Thursday, Mills said he himself doesn’t expect as increase in minutes, but instead he’s taking the process one-step at a time to becoming a better player.

We’ve seen what Mills could do when given some significant minutes in the silver and black. Last season, he not only brought productive minutes off the bench, but in games where Parker barely played or didn’t play at all, Mills was a scoring machine.

Now let’s go to London over the last two weeks. Again, Mills was a scoring machine as he set the 2012 London individual scoring mark with 39 points in a victory against Great Britain. Mills even scored 26 points on the all-powerful United States.

Here’s what wasn’t discussed much regarding Mills’ Olympic performance, his ability to excel as a shooting guard. When Mills plays with Australia, he is actually the starting shooting guard for the Boomers, as the younger Matthew Dellavedova handles the point guard responsibility.

Mills showed in London that he has the ability to score effectively as a shooting guard by either using his speed to get an open outside shot, hitting a jumper off a curl screen, or even driving into the lane and finishing at the rim or getting fouled from time to time.

Another aspect of Mills’ game was his defense, as several times he pick-pocketed ball handlers who weren’t cautiously aware of where Mills was at on the court. Mills also got himself some easy points by getting ahead out on the break and being the recipient of outlet passes for converted layups.

So, Mills left San Antonio in April with the already known ability to play point guard, then he went to London and added to his repertoire the ability to play shooting guard, so in essence, he’ll be returning to the Spurs this coming season with even more opportunity because now he’s shown the coaching staff his versatility on offense.

PM2First let’s breakdown the Spurs’ guards in terms of rotation: Danny Green or Manu Ginobili will probably start at shooting guard and the other will come off of the bench. Gary Neal is usually the third shooting guard off the bench, but now Mills can also play before or behind Neal as a shooting guard, while Nando De Colo would be bumped last to the bench.

For point guards, Parker is the starter and either Mills or Cory Joseph will be his primary backup, with De Colo coming deep off the bench. For Mills, he’s bound to get an increased role in terms of minutes.

For one, he’s most likely going to be the clear backup to Parker, unless the coaching staff was swayed by Joseph’s Summer League growth. Second, Mills can also get put into different situational lineups. Maybe head coach Gregg Popovich is looking for speed and firepower, well even though they’ll get eaten up on defense, Parker and Mills could play alongside each other to put some quick points on the board. Or even a small scoring lineup of Mills and Neal together could be used for a few minutes as a rotation when offense is needed.

Third, Mills will have some games when he’s the starter if coach Pop decides to rest Parker on different occasions. Mills already showed last season that he could fully take on the duty of being the starting guard, so that shouldn’t be a challenge for him.

Mills might not think he’s going to get increased minutes early on, but I think over the summer he has clearly earned his position as the backup point guard and cemented himself a situational role in serious moments in games. The Spurs already had five guards on the roster before re-signing Mills and adding De Colo. There’s got to be an expectation that Mills will succeed with a bigger role this coming season.

Now, it’s just up to Mills to take the opportunity and run with it, just like he did in London two weeks ago. 

THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Patty Mills isn't greedy about minutes with Spurs

At the 2012 Olympic Games, San Antonio Spurs guard Patty Mills showed the type of offensive firepower he can bring to the Spurs next season. At London, he averaged 21.2 points (most among players at London), nailed a game-winning shot versus Russia, and showcased an all-around game which could prove beneficial for San Antonio next season. But after an excellent run in London, one...

Video: Spurs' De Colo has some skill with a basketball

San Antonio Spurs guard Nando De Colo is known for his tremendous passing ability but who knew he also had some other skills. And by "skills" I mean him making buckets by tossing the ball off the wall, tossing alley-oops while in a moving car, and more. Check out the video Project Spurs' Paul Garcia sent me of Nando fooling around in the gym with a few of his...

Ginobili will not play in 2013 Olympic qualifier

While it is still unknown whether or not San Antonio Spurs Manu Ginobili will rejoin the Argentina national team for the 2016 Olympics, he has made one thing clear. According to La Nacion (via translation of ABC.es), Ginobili will not be playing with Argentina in next summer's FIBA America's Tournament, the first of a few Olympic qualifiers. Surely I will not...

2013 Eurobasket Qualifier: Hanga, Bertans fall in opening games

If San Antonio Spurs draftees Adam Hanga (Hungary) and Davis Bertans (Latvia) want to get their shot at possibly facing their future Spurs teammates Tony Parker, Boris Diaw, and Nando De Colo (France) next summer in Slovenia for Eurobasket 2013, they’ll have to first qualify to earn that position next year. On Tuesday, the 2013 Eurobasket qualifier kicked off, and Hanga...

Former Spur Horry forgets he played in Phoenix

Former San Antonio Spurs forward Robert Horry is quite decorated laying claim to seven NBA titles during his time in the NBA. Horry won two titles with the Spurs, two with the Rockets, and three with the Lakers before retiring in 2008. And though many remember him for his seven titles, clutch shots and all-around play, some forget he spent time with the Phoenix Suns - though...

Report: Buck Williams, Randy Livingston on Spurs' radar for assistant coaching vacancies

Over the summer, the San Antonio Spurs not only lost assistant coach Don Newman to another assistant coaching job with the Washington Wizards, but they also lost assistant coach Jacque Vaughn who was hired as the head coach of the Orlando Magic. With only Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich and assistant coaches Brett Brown and Mike Budenholzer remaining on the bench, there are...

ESPN names all-Olympic team; Couple of Spurs included

The Olympics are over. Not surprisingly, the Americans won the gold medal and Spain got the silver (although they went through a few more bumps than most expected). ESPN has taken the time to reflect on what transpired over the last two weeks and named the all-Olympic first and second teams. First team: Pau Gasol, LeBron James, Manu Ginobili, Kevin Durant, Andrei Kirilenko...

Heat, Nuggets, European team highlight Spurs' preseason

Bits and pieces of the San Antonio Spurs' preseason schedule had been leaking out for days, mostly through other teams' schedules getting leaked out. Today the NBA released the full preseason schedule for all 30 teams. While the Spurs won't be doing any international travel this fall, their preseason will have a little bit of Italian flavor as they welcome Montepaschi...

Ex-Spur Bowen isn't sold on new look Lakers

Former San Antonio Spurs forward Bruce Bowen defended some of the best during his NBA career. From Ray Allen, LeBron James to Carmelo Anthony and many more, including Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash. And both Bryant and Nash will be joining forces in Los Angeles as the new look Lakers look to reclaim their spot as the Western Conference's top team. However, while many are already...
Spurs News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.