For a young, up-and-coming point guard in the NBA, aside from gaining your coach and teamates’ trust and respect, there’s nothing better than getting respect from one of the league’s best at your position.
According to the Herald Sun, U.S. guard and perennial NBA all star Chris Paul thinks San Antonio Spurs guard Patty Mills, who was recently re-signed, will be a key player in the Olympics.
Paul well remembers the fast-footed tango he had with up-and-comer Mills at the 2008 Olympics when the then-college player slotted 20 points and used his speed to grab the attention of NBA scouts in a quarter-final to the Americans.
“Patty wasn’t in the NBA in ’08 and he did an unbelievable job then and he’s an even better player now,” Paul said of the Aussie asset at the San Antonio Spurs.
“He’s a different player with the national team than he is in the NBA. With the national team, he gets to get loose, get going and be the player that he is.”
That’s incredible praise from a future Hall-of-Famer, but the praise from Paul and several others, including Bloguin’s own Mookie Schiralli and several Trailblazers bloggers and fans probably stacks up higher than Mills’ 6-0 frame.
Mills made an early impact after joining the Spurs last season before fizzling out a bit toward the end of the season, but one thing Paul brought up and that has been brought up before is the freedom Mills has with his national team. I wonder if it might be to the Spurs’ benefit to come in off the bench and run a few plays for him and let him do his thing instead of just being a backup point guard with an outside shot off the bench.
Perhaps that’s something Brett Brown, Mills’ national team coach, will push for after his run in London.
Mills and Australia nearly shocked Gold contender Spain yesterday in front of a pro-Spanish crowd in Granada. Spain’s late surge gave them a six-point win, 75-69. Mills finished with 14 points and four assists with the Boomers.
Mills will see two of his teammates in upcoming games with Brazil on Sunday and France on Monday. A Parker vs. Mills matchup will be fun to watch, and it’ll probably be a little more competitive than when they practiced against each other last season.