Early thoughts on Patty Mills

We’ve heard from several current and former San Antonio Spurs players over the years that it takes a full season to really get familiar and fit in with the system.

Someone evidently forgot to tell Patty Mills.

Since Mills joined the Spurs, he has shown exactly why the Spurs front office and scouts have been so successful, making a low-risk move and turning it into big dividends, at least through six games.

Through those six games, Mills is averaging 9.2 points and impressive 54 percent from the field and 43 percent on three-pointers. even during the Spurs most recent 11-game winning streak, Patty averaged 9.2 points.

Aside from being a threat on the perimeter, which made him a fan favorite in Portland, Mills has displayed blindingly-quick speed on the level of the player he backs up, Tony Parker.

As Paul Garcia said on the WOAI-Project Spurs Spurs Roundtable this past weekend, Mills’ speed allows him to be an above average full-court defender, but because of his size, he can be a liability in half court defensive sets and could also have trouble against bigger and stronger point guards.

While Mills sports a quick release on a very effective jumper from range, he has done a good job of not forcing the offense or shooting tooPatty Mills early during possessions unless it’s in transition and he’s open. His decision-making has shown marked improvement since his college days at St. Mary’s.

While Mills has scored mostly on outside shots or on fast break drives in his first few games with the Spurs, he also has shown that he has good enough ball-handling ability to shoot off the dribble.

Mills is a shoot-first point guard, but is an upgrade at the backup position over Cory Joseph and Gary Neal and has had two four-assist games.

His biggest games have come in blowout wins against Cleveland and New Orleans. Seeing an increase in playing time, Mills made the most of it scoring 20 points against Cleveland and 14 against the Hornets.

While he struggled from beyond the arch against Utah on Monday, he was still able to finish the game with nine points, four assists, three rebounds and one steal.

Mills still has 12 games left on the regular season schedule with the Spurs, so there is still more to be seen, but if you’ve missed his biggest games so far, highlights are available below.

For more on Mills, be sure to watch the Spurs Roundtable. Mills was our spotlight player for our most recent episode.

About Michael A. De Leon

Michael founded Project Spurs in 2004. He started The Spurscast, the first Spurs podcast on the Internet, in 2005. Michael has been interviewed by the BBC, SportTalk, the Sports Reporters Radio Show, MemphisSportLive, OKC Sports Wrap and ESPN radio among others. He is a credentialed member of the media for the San Antonio Spurs and Austin Toros. He is also the founder of Project Spurs' sister sites, Toros Nation and Stars Hoops.

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