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College, NBA Draft / Jun 10, 2009 / 6:10 pm

NBA Draft ’09 Stock Watch: Patrick Mills

Mills vs. Team USA

Mills vs. Team USA

Here’s what I don’t get: While you can’t make it five minutes into a Ricky Rubio argument without somebody supporting his case with the concept that he “held his own” against grown men overseas and against Team USA in the Olympics, Patrick Mills gets zero credit for not just holding his own, but putting in serious work against the Redeem Team and other international juggernauts.

In almost every major test he’s faced, Mills has proven himself. As the focal point of each NCAA defense that went against his Saint Mary’s squad this year, the sophomore Mills averaged 18.4 points on 40% from the field and 85% at the line, plus 2.2 steals per game. Mills got the better of Stephen Curry in their NIT matchup, putting up 23 points and 10 dimes in a blowout win. Before that he dropped 27 points in an NIT win over Washington State, and despite missing nine games during the season due to injury, still clocked 10 games of 20-plus points.

Then there’s the FIBA resume. In two games against Team USA last summer (one exhibition, one in the Olympics), Mills was the best player on the court for Australia, and that includes Andrew Bogut. He scored 20 against the Americans in Beijing, giving Chris Paul, Deron Williams and Jason Kidd problems. In his two outings against the U.S., Mills went for a total of 33 points, three assists and three steals. In Rubio’s two games against the U.S. last summer, he had 14 points, six dimes and six steals. Mills also dropped 22 points against Argentina and its NBA-laden roster, and “held his own” against Russia and Lithuania during the Olympic tournament.

And yet, while Rubio stays in the top five of every draft board, Mills is actually slipping. Pegged as a 20-to-25 guy in the first round a couple weeks ago, the latest NBADraft.net mock has him falling into the second round, going after guys like Toney Douglas, Darren Collison and Dionte Christmas.

Why? If this were five years ago, I’d get it: Mills is small (6-foot, 180 pounds), he’s a ‘tweener of a PG/SG, and he plays for a mid-major. Sure, he puts up points, but so did Troy Bell and A.J. Guyton and Steve Logan, and they all played at big-time programs.

But the bad rap for ‘tweeners is supposedly dead. Guys like Randy Foye, Gilbert Arenas, Nate Robinson, Ben Gordon and even Dwyane Wade have dispelled the myth that small guards who aren’t pure PG’s have no place in the League. And with the way the NBA game is going, any team can find space for a guy who is quick, skilled and can put the ball in the basket.

Mills has first-round talent. I really like him for the Hornets at #21 as CP’s backup (the next Jannero Pargo), but I can also see him with Phoenix at #14, Atlanta at #19, and Dallas at #22, among others.

But why are we even talking about teams in that range? For somebody whose international track record is just as (if not more) impressive than Rubio’s, and who has a solid body of college work on top of that, Patty Mills should be higher on everyone’s board. Or perhaps Rubio should be lower.

Do you think Mills will be an impact player in the NBA?

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  • dk

    Some funny shit to tide you over until tomorrow night.
    Its nothing about the Lakers….

    http://www.maxim.com/humor/stupid-fun/82470/10-greatest-amusement-park-ride-freak-outs.html

  • dk

    Oh and I still like Jennings over Rubio.

  • Yoooo

    Rubio should be LOWER. WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY lower

  • JH

    Rubio -vs- Mills argument has some real clout to it. Mills may or be being overlooked but I definately think Rubio is over-rated.

    Who knows? Maybe he’ll prove us doubters wrong.

  • leena

    i totally agree with you – I’ve been a fan of Patty’s for a while now and watched as he gave Team USA some trouble at the Olympics…why don’t the scouts take that into account?

  • Drink the Haterade (LA LAKERS 09 Champs)

    Maybe Mills has tapped out as far as potential goes…

    I see guys in HS all the time and I’m like Damn that dude can play, but then there’s always some one else who has the potential to be better even if they don’t look it at the time.

  • A$$Cube aka The Tongue

    French guard Rodrigue Beaubois outplayed Patty Mills at the Reebok Eurocamp. Well, that was before he got injured. Then, Mills took off and had a very solid Day 2.

    But. But. But… Beaubois was the best athlete of the camp –by far. If Jrue Holliday’s physical tools can turn him into a top 10 pick, then Beaubois should be a late first-round pick –and make whichever team that selects him look smart.

  • spike

    very well written as usual, but then again Rubio is younger, and his vision and maturity is better then anyone in the draft…but your def rite mills should be hire, i have him behind curry and flynn, maybe lawson or jennings. hed be a good fit for the lakers as well

  • s.bucketz

    did rubio nd mills play against each other at the olympics??

  • kevin k

    the question is you ask is so simple to answer….

    Patty Mills is a stud and has a better track record than most of the guards in the DRAFT, BUT as you said, he’s a tweener. a 6ft 180 lb tweener. a short tweener that shoots 40% from the field in the NCAA is not going to warrant much in the NBA.

    Rubio is a “pure” PG. Rubio doesn’t have the athletiscm of Rose, Rondo, or CP3, but his vision and passing is off the charts. Also his D is not too shabby either. His shot is no where near Nash, but his height, length, athletiscm, and D is much better.

  • IG

    Rodrigue Beaubois? 37th pick to the Spurs.

  • Dave

    I played against Patty back in Australia years ago and if there is one thing this kid is, it is determined.

    His work ethic is something most people would dream of….. When he broke his hand earlier this season he started learning to shoot left handed… and from what I heard he didnt do to bad.

    Obviously knowing him from years ago it is easy for me to say “Yeah I would take him”… If only some of the scouts out there knew he was a sure thing, in the fact his mind would be set on one thing WINNING!! And at the same time making players around him better.. Plus getting wraps from the stars in teh NBA dont hurt either.

    Kobe was quoted to say during the olympics “I dont want to mark him he is too quick for me”

    And I dont know if you have seen the footage of Patty blowing past Chris Paul during the olympics…. But god damn it looked like he was sped up!

    I completely agree with this article, Obviously I am going to be bias however as the article says “He has overcome everything” which has been put in-front of him and stepping up to the final grade of the NBA would be no exception.

    D.G.

  • http://250aspirin.blogspot.com DJ Leon Smith

    Austin you’ve pretty much summed up every argument I’ve used when people try to tell me I’m only hyping Mills because he’s Aussie (like me). I’d like to think that either Deron or CP3 will have a word with their respective front offices if Mills is still available when the Jazz/Hornets are on the clock on draft day.

  • flavur

    I agree that mills is underated for sure if anything his spot in the draft should be swapped with rubio projected position is in my opinion.

  • rd$

    Bulls should take him with their 2nd first round pick…if he even gets that far….fuck it, take him with the first first round pick!

  • Kryptonite Hops

    No. Why? Because he is Australian (btw, so am I)

  • the cynic

    Mills will be the steal of the draft

  • http://manilatonight.com solomon (el latino machismo)

    yeah… anyone who would take mills would be hitting jackpot… like the effin’ C’s landing rondo at round 2…

  • Chuck

    I have been arguing that the Team USA (and to a lesser extent the Argentina game) vs Australia game where Mills starred has been way undervalued as evidence of his NBAreadiness

    Mills had no one to pass to worth a damn at St Mary’s yet people use his assists numbers as a knock on him – he shot so much because he had to

    He also torched Curry when he played him in the NIT and that also gets conveniently forgotten.

    He will be the steal of the draft

  • http://shootingbasketballtips.blogspot.com/ Dodge Taylor

    That’s ok, let him slip in the draft, expectations on him will be low but he’ll have a Paul Pierce style chip on his shoulder for every team that didn’t draft him.

    Hopefully he’ll come out and have a Damon Stoudamire type rookie of the year season. Actually, they’re fairly similar styles of players (size, build, speed, etc).

    I think Patty Mills will make a lot of teams look silly for not drafting him.

    Good write up Dime.

  • added

    DAMN STRAIGHT!!!

    im not saying that he should go in the lottery and i definitely dont think he has better prospects than rubio (and i australian) – but a lot of people are sleeping on him right now…with the league getting faster and faster, this guy will be a solid first round pick. patty could play the scorer off the bench for any team in the league. would be a great fit for a running team.

  • http://shootingbasketballtips.blogspot.com/ Dodge Taylor

    PS. Dime, has there ever been SO many comments from Australian posters on the one article?! LOL

  • Bron42 aka Had Springs Before Slamball

    @dime, simple, people have had time to see mills alot more, rubio is still “Mysterious”. Rubio didn’t even average double digits but everyones livin off youtube clips and one usa game. So the fact the hes still more of a unknow gives him the traditional euro hype while guys in college for more than a year get dissected. Its like jason kapono said a few years back “If i moved overseas and changed my last name i would of been a number one pic.

  • alamo

    Dime is a really pushing Rubio down the charts.
    Why do we talk more about rubio? ‘Cause he’s younger and doesn’t play D1 basketball but a better one.
    You can put every stat that you want but Mills was not playing with players like Pau, JC and others.
    Ricky is the best PG in this year draft, why can’t you just admit it?

  • bub

    What are the chances that a player like patty mills, Johny Flynn, Jrue Holiday, or Stephen Curry might be better than Rubio and jennings? Just a thought… But I really like Johny Flynns game, im hoping the kings either take Rubio or a bigman at 4 and hope to get a point gaurd with their later pick.

  • Nick

    Great article. Let’s not forget Patty Mills’ six 3 point bombs in the first half of the Gonzaga game before he broke his hand.

    Mills scored 20 points in the quarterfinals against the gold-winning U.S. team full of NBA stars. He also had three assists, two steals and no turnovers. U.S. coach Mike Krzyzewski of Duke took notice.

    He said that he thought Mills was a future starting NBA point guard with All Star potential and was glad his team wasnt playing against him in College Ball.

    L Bron, Kobe, Kidd, CP3 and Deron all think he is an amazing player and as far as his upside being limited, what a lot of BS, he’s 3 just turned 20 for God’s sake.

    Top 10 player for mine.

  • Ben

    Good article. Which PG other than Lawson – who has received some ‘stock going down’ press – has been as hammered as Mills? This is a dude who has legitimate elite quickness, and a fully formed midrange game where he can get his own shot anytime if need be. He showed it all season at SMC, and obviously at Treviso. I’m not for any other PG bashing, like Rubio for e.g., he is obviously a very intriguing can’t miss prospect, as are Flynn and Curry, Holiday seems all about ‘upside/potential’. Mills obviously has to work on his strength and vertical and his finishing, and working the PnR but if you saw him play this year you know he can pass. Above all, the dude plays to win.

  • jeremy

    arenas and wade are a legit 6’4″

  • Josh tha roc

    mills is a gun. lock it in. Someone the common Aussie can get behind. Doesn’t matter where he goes, he’ll be a starter in 3 years anyway. Actually might be better in the 2nd round…get those big dollars quicker.

  • Josh tha roc

    Areans and Wade are 2 guards bro.

  • tja

    mills impressed me too, but how the fuck can you compare him to rubio? anyways its overtalked, lets discuss this in 2 years…

  • KOBBEE

    He will go in first round!! Dont worry!! Scouts have seen what he can do, surround him with NBA stars he is going to improve a HEAP. I hope Rubio does go early but because its always good to see a CHOCKER.

  • Abe504

    someone will be really lucky to snatch him up, I still haven’t seen a point guard thoroughly destroy the nba’s top point guards like he did in the Olympics.

  • WINDYCITYBULL

    @DAVE … PLAYED WITH PATTY YEARS AGO?

    YOUR A TOOL

  • WINDYCITYBULL

    @RD$ … REALLY DRAFT A POINT GUARD? BULLS?

    YOUR A TOOL

  • WINDYCITYBULL

    GREAT ARTICLE ONLY THING THAT ITS MISSING IS THE FACT THAT THIS DRAFT IS HORSE SH@T…. BUT I GUESS YOU HAVE TO WRITE ABOUT SOMETHING…

    @WRITER … YOUR A TOOL

  • benjovi

    There is one thing that many if not all of you know about Mills and thats his culture, and it will explain why he may not have looked a million dollars at combines but was great in the final games for the gaels and for Australia at the Olympics. Indigenous (Aboriginal) athletes are all big game, clutch, big stage, what ever you want to call it, they have an uncanny ability to find the extra yard and poised when their team really needs it. Most Aussies here wont be surprised to find out Paddy is related first cousins with Alwyn and Aaron Davey who are great Australian Rules Football players (blindingly quick also)

    The long and the short of it is, people will only realize just how good Paddy is when he is on the floor and the tempo is flowing and heart rates are thumping than he is taking 20 jump shots over a cut out at training or a camp. Its just the way the indigenous are.

  • Kobe sucks

    Rubio is the next Darko millic. He is over-rated. All He is is about the Hype. The nationale Spanish association picked himin the national olympic team because he is a good player and it will make grow his hype, but nothing spectacular about him. He is a great Fake.

  • KWAME

    rubio is only 18

  • http://www.nbadraftdaycountdown.com NBADRAFTDAYCOUNTDOWN

    hasnt cracked our first round – though you make a compelling case…

    http://www.nbadraftdaycountdown.com

  • God

    Yea, Mills is seriously under-rated! Shooting % down due to having to take contested jumpers at the end of the 24 at SMC so I don’t think that is a knock on his game. Great pickup for whoever gets him. A steal!

    Rubio, looks good and appears to have great court awareness; can understand the high draft position.

    As for the other PGs in the draft; it is a lot easier to accumulate dimes (and look good yourself)if the other players in the team can actually shoot.

    Oh yeah @WINDYCITYBULL you probably need to push down once on your CAPS LOCK button otherwise everyone will know you’re a TOOL

  • Mike D’ Antoni

    GO TO THE SUNS…

    THY NEED A GOOD PG.

  • dejay

    rubio and jennings both look good but they are all hype niether one of them averaged double digits in thier leauges and thier leauges dont even compare to the nba, rubio cant even shoot a jummper and jennings cant even pass the ball he averaged 1.6 assists wtf patty had 22 and 10 against stephen curry and proved he can pass and also avereged double digits against not good talent but great talent in the olympics

  • Dixy

    He went at least 30 picks too low. I hope he makes the Blazers squad, because he sure can play.