SAN ANTONIO – San Antonio Spurs guard Patty Mills is currently battling it out with Cory Joseph and Nando De Colo for a spot in a crowded backcourt of the Spurs rotation.
Hitting game-winning shots in overtime certainly doesn’t hurt Mills’ chances, as he did on Wednesday night to secure the Spurs’ first preseason win against CSKA Moscow.
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich credits Mills’ offseason work and being in great shape for the already speedy guard to get in position and have the energy to launch the dagger from outside.
"Well, Patty did kind of a transformation of his body over the summertime. He ate very well watched what he put in his body and worked his body,” Popovich said. “He did it the entire summer, so for him to have the juice to make that shot at the end is a testament to his work."
As Project Spurs reported back in July, Mills was working out and looking to stay in shape at the Nike campus, and the results are paying dividends.
The Olympics certainly showed that Mills is a very capable, swift and crafty guard, and while he takes some gambles on defense, he’s been known for swiping the ball and leading a fast break in transition.
With Manu Ginobili and Marco Bellineli already on the bench, Mills will have to show that he can lead the offense at the point, because minutes at backup shooting guard will be scarce.
While Joseph and De Colo might have the inside track at getting backup point guard minutes since they’ve played in roles more as distributors, Mills’ speed, defense and ability to out up points in bunches, and especially knocking down clutch shots, may work in his favor.