San Antonio Spurs guard Patty Mills was recently on FM News 101 KXL's The Bald Faced Truth's radio show and discussed what it's like to play for the Spurs, represent his home country of Australia, playing for Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich and more.
Mills was asked what it was like to go to the Finals as a member of the Spurs with veterans like Tony Parker, Tim Duncan, and Manu Ginobili leading the way.
“Being part of a team with the caliber of guys that are on the team…I’ve definitely become a better player,” Mills said. “Just being around these guys, they are great players but they’re even better people to be around.”
Mills was also asked about how much time he gets off in the offseason before preparing for another season. Mills said he didn't get that much time off as usual because the Spurs went to the NBA Finals so late in June and now he has to get ready for international play with with Australia.
Even though Mills didn't receive a lot of playing time during the season or in the playoffs, he gained a lot of popularity with his towel waving support for his teammates. He discussed how the waving method came to be and what he hopes it does for those watching him.
"I think it's always been there for me," said Mills. "I have a genuine care about my teammates. (It) Started back in Portland but took off in San Antonio." Mills went on to say it's a way to keep him energized and excited in the event he's called into a game. He also said he wants to be a role model for kids or players out there who might be in his situation - sitting on the bench - to still be able to contribute to their team by being a strong support piece.
As where basketball came from, Mills said he grew up an only child and began playing basketball at the age of four. He said he was able to attend the 2000 Summer Olympics in Australia at the age of 11 or 12 and after watching the games live, knew one day his goal would be to wear the green jersey of his home country.
And of course, it's a question that's usually asked to players who play for the Spurs, so the host wanted to know what is coach Popovich really like?
"He’s a sweetheart man, he really is. He comes off one way to the media…but he’s really a great guy."
"He has a great personality," continued Mills of Popovich, "he jokes around a lot. He cares about your family and everyone's background. He sets the bar high for what San Antonio is all about."
Mills will be representing Australia in the FIBA Oceania tournament in mid August before training camp begins in late September. When he returns to training camp, he'll again be expected to battle for the backup point guard position along with Cory Joseph and Nando De Colo.
Mills is not a point guard, he's a 2-guard in a PG's body. He doesn't have the play making capabilities necessary to be a good pg--he's a gunner. Like Neal's short-lived experiment at pg, Mill's value is simply as a shooter and offensive spark off the bench.
For mine, I think Joseph is the back up PG and potentially medium to long term replacement for Parker. Mills adds depth, a little scoring punch and the ability to take advantage of certain matchups. The best part about a guy like Mills is you don't (and won't) hear him in the media complaining about deserving more court time, or allowing disappointment over his minutes lead to anything less than stellar effort in training/practices. Chemistry, energy, enthusiasm. And he just seems fun to be around. You need guys like Mills to make it through 82 games and a long post season, year after year.
Just one guy talking here, but if we had to lose one of our PG's to balance out the roster, I'd lean toward De Colo - even if Nando's playing ceiling is higher.
Mills is going to pay big time in practice for calling Pop a "sweetheart" in front of the media I reckon.No way Pop let's that slide.
As for Patty - consummate professional, ideal team mate, spark plug bench guy and Aussie Icon. I hope he remains a Spur for a long, long time.