In a tournament that featured the NBA scoring champ, the NBA MVP and some of the best international talent in the world, would you believe one of the San Antonio Spurs’ bench players averaged the most points per game at this year’s Olympics?
Patty Mills scored 21.2 points per game, putting him almost two whole PPG ahead of Kevin Durant, who came in second with 19.5 PPG. Manu Ginobili came in third with 19.4 and Tony Parker was tenth with 15.7 PPG.
So Mills is now the new starting point guard for the Spurs, right?
Well, probably not. I don’t want to discredit his accomplishment, but part of the discrepancy in scoring averages can be attributed to the fact that these players play for very different teams. Mills was the best offensive option for Australia by quite a large margin. While Ginobili and Parker are probably the best players for Argentina and France respectively, the teams have a few other offensive weapons to go to.
You can look at that another way though. If Mills was the best option to score for Australia, he should draw the most attention from opposing defenses. In his final game of the Olympics against the United States, one of the better defensive teams in the tournament, Mills put up 26 points. Even though his team lost by 33, it’s still very impressive that he was able to score that much against a group of NBA All-Stars.
It’s hard to say what’s going to happen with all the competition the Spurs have at their guard spots, but this Olympic performance should earn Patty Mills some more playing time next season. He’s now shown he can play with the best in the world and he belongs on that floor. I’d like to see him working as a back up point guard to Tony Parker, but the Olympics also might have been Mills’ coming out parting, meaning he may be seeing some offers from other teams in the near future.
Manu brought to the Spurs the same passion and team first attitude that prevails with his Argentine national team. Yes, Timmy won previously without Manu, but three of the four Championships have Ginobili's stamp all over them, from regular to post season. One of the best compliments Manu received from another opposing player is when kobe trashed talked with Manu in Italian. And Manu's best comeback was helping Spurs win the game and tell the media kobe's "accent was bad".