The performance, which included 8-11 shooting from the field and a red-hot 4-5 from the three point line puts to rest any doubt that his time off the court following his stint in China has had a negative impact on his form, not only with NBA Finals fast approaching, but also with the 2012 London Games only months away.
“I thought tonight he showed a very aggressive side,” said Australian Boomers head coach and assistant coach of the San Antonio Spurs Brett Brown. “He really got himself going with his pace and they were very aggressive with their pick-and-roll defense and I thought he did an excellent job of making that aggression work to the team and to his benefit,” he said.
“Any time you come into a game and you shoot the ball as well as he shot it, it’s a fantastic introduction to a team. You gain an immediate credibility, you gain a lot of respect and the way that he has been carrying himself since he’s been here, he’s been highly professional and shown a very serious commitment on his part in that he wants to develop and become a long term Spur,” he said.
According to Brown, performances like this one will only become more frequent as Mills’s conditioning continues to improve as the season rolls on.
“I think the more in shape that he gets the easier the game is going to be for him,” he said. “I think over the years, because we’ve run a lot of the Spurs offense and the Spurs system with our Boomers team, the language and the structure has been a lot easier for him to pick up and as he gets in better shape, the game comes easy and tonight it came easy and he ended up leading the team in scoring,” he said
The 20-point haul is three points shy of his career best performance of 23 points, which he delivered while still in Portland against Andrew Bogut’s new team the Golden State Warriors on 13 April, 2011.
The benefits of Mills’s new found position with the Spurs and under the tutelage of Brett Brown has some significant benefits, and should he continue to improve on the court, that bodes well for the Boomers’ chances in London, something that has Brown excited.
“You just feel like you have more control over his destiny,” he said. “I think with this position here where he’s under your roof, you can continue to help him develop his game, you can help make sure that he comes back in just fantastic shape, which is the sole mission of all of our Boomers players,” said Brown.
“Patty is fortunate to have an infrastructure here with the Spurs where several coaches and resources are available to him to return back to Australia in shape and improved,” he said.
Patty Mills and the San Antonio Spurs are back on court tomorrow against the Boston Celtics. Tip-off is at 9.30am AEST.