As I continue to thumb through the list of upcoming free agents for this summer I see many players that cold make good role players if provided with the right opportunity to play their role. The player I am looking at today its that description. Portland back up point guard Patrick Mills.
A former 2nd round pick who has played his first two seasons in Portland. Missed most of his rookie season with a broken leg and had some quite promising stints in limited minutes off the bench, mainly garbage time minutes. He averaged 5.5 points per game this past season in about 12 minutes. Patrick Mills is an Australian born player. He is quite popular among the Blazers fans and his fellow players.
Mills has a lot of potential as a quick young player. He could definitely surprise a lot of teams if given quality minutes. In this current free agent class he could be compared to someone like a JJ Barea. A quick spark off the bench. Mills is a bigger player with a reasonable 3 point shot (35%). However he does not have the same array of floaters and shots in the lane that Barea does. With that being said he does tend to play better off the ball than Barea. Mills is a hardworking player with a laidback personality that works well with just about everybody. It Portland he is loved by fans, players and coaches. He has a great work ethic and the will to improve his game.
He is a very raw talent. He lacks that variety of moves on offense, especially in the lane. If he was to start taking on some major minutes he would need to become more of a threat going to the hoop, he would need to develop a consistent floater and possibly a pull up jumper in the lane. As with any undersized player he can be a bit of a defensive liability at times. Mills is 6 feet tall.
Patrick Mills would most likely suit a team that needs a quick spark off the bench. He would be better off starting off the bench but learning from a more experienced point guard and maybe one day in the future we will see him as a starting point guard from someone. He are a list of teams that I think Patrick Mills would work well in:
San Antonio: The Spurs have already had 2 Australians in their team previously (Andrew Gaze was part of the 1999 championship team and Shane Heal has had a stint with them as well) so they would be familiar with Australian players. He could learn a lot from Tony Parker as one of his strengths (attacking the hoop) is something Mills needs to develop. The Spurs also need a back up point guard who may be asked to play some big minutes.
New Orleans: Chris Paul needs a back up in New Orleans. When he is on is game, Chris Paul is the best point guard in the NBA. Chris Paul may very well be looking to leave the Hornets which could then leave Mills in charge.
New York: The Knicks also need a back up point guard and Chauncey Billups would be a great player to learn from. He would also be in a run and gun style which I believe will suit Mills.
Patrick Mills probably would not be rating too high on anybody’s radar, except maybe Portland’s so he could be picked up at a cheap price. Patrick Mills has the makings to be a solid NBA point guard. Whoever lands him could be pleasantly surprised at what they get out of Mills for the money they pay to acquire him.