After a break out season for San Antonio Spurs, it was thought then free agent Patty Mills might be leaving the Alamo City for a huge payday and a chance at a starting role with another team. However, he suffered a huge setback in the offseason when it was discovered he tore his shoulder rotator cuff leading to surgery. The timetable for his return won’t be until the midpoint of the upcoming NBA season but it didn’t deter San Antonio from re-signing him to a three-year deal.
Despite the fact he played the entire 2013-14 season with the injury, Mills averaged 10 points, 1.8 assists, 2.1 rebounds, shot 42 percent from the 3-point line, and 46 percent from the field in 18.9 minutes per game with San Antonio. In the postseason, he averaged 7.3 points and shot 40 percent from the 3-point line and 44 percent from the field.
Solid numbers for a bench player in the NBA while backing up Tony Parker, however, if Mills could have his way, he admits his goal remains to be a starting point guard in the NBA.
Via NBA Australia:
“I think obviously my goal is to be a starting point guard in this league, and I’ve said that from the first day that I got drafted.”
The shoulder definitely put a hold on that goal.
There were reports other teams were interested in his services prior to news of his shoulder injury but in the end, Patty knows what he has in San Antonio and appreciates the tutelage of Parker and the opportunity it lends to his overall basketball development.
“I think where I’m at in my career at the moment, I’m learning a lot, I’m still developing, and there’s no better way to do that than being in San Antonio with such great people, teammates, coaching staff and, for me, Tony Parker, really taking me under his wing,” he said.
“I couldn’t be more excited about going back to San Antonio for another three years and I just feel like I’m going to get even better and keep improving.”
There is no doubt Mills has the chops to be a starting point guard in the league. His numbers from last season prove that and he might have gotten a chance at a starting job had it not been for the injury.
Mills is locked up in San Antonio for three more years and barring any trade, Mills will continue to prove his worth once he gets back on the court. There’s also the chance for him to get a few more starts next season should head coach Gregg Popovich rest Parker more often during the regular season as the team tries to defend their championship.
As for his injury, Mills says he is taking the slow-and-steady approach.
“I think (more importantly) that I’ve gotta take my time coming back and making sure that the shoulder has no problems at all, fitness wise, back to how I was at the beginning of last season.”
Of course leave it to the Spurs to have a quality NBA starting guard on the bench backing up an All-Star.