Saw him last night & I thought he played great @ PHX --- 35 mins, 27 pts on 9-23 FGs (3-8 from 3), 5 assts, 1 steal and only 3 TOs. Scored the ball with ease and he ran a real nice show.
He got a lot of time last night because the Spurs have decided to rest Tony Parker until the playoffs begin. He outplayed 2-time MVP Steve Nash who was good himself but only played 17 mins in what may have been his last home game for PHX. Mills actually led his team to an impressive road victory, 110-106.
I've always liked this guy. Little fella can really shoot the ball from deep (flawless mechanics -- if he gets his feet set it's money, yet he shoots well off the dribble too), he's one of the quickest PGs in the league, gets up the floor and to the rim in a flash, he can finish and I think he's a better playmaker than he's given credit for. It's no fluke -- this dude played well for St. Mary's, always looked good in international competition playing for Australia (he looked phenomenal against top USA PGs in the Olympics a few years ago), got only spot time in Portland and made the most of it, dominated his couple of stints in the D-League and was equally dominant during his brief stay in China before resurfacing in the NBA 15 games ago with the Spurs...It'll be interesting to see what he gets on the open market this summer. He has a $1M player option with the Spurs for next yr that I think he'll decline. I think he's worth more than that. How much more I don't know but I think last night proved he's worth more than $1M. Talent-wise, I honestly don't see that much of a difference between Mills and Ty Lawson who's having a really nice year for Denver. I think Mills, if given the same opportunity, could easily match the numbers Lawson's putting up for the Nuggets this yr (in 35 mins Lawson's averaging 16.4 ppg on 48.5% FGs, 36.5% on 3s, 6.6 apg, 1.3 steals). Pound for pound, I see very little difference between these two players.
Not sure what's gonna happen with Lin --- I like Patty either as a backup for Lin or maybe even as our starting PG if the Knicks and Lin can't come to terms (say the Knicks don't want to give Lin the full MLE or more and they let him walk to a team that does, who knows. What if Lin's not healthy?). If everything works out & we do secure Lin, I like Patty a hell of a lot more at backup PG than Baron Davis & Toney Douglas...If Mills declines his option and becomes a FA, we might be able to steal him away from the Spurs if we come quick and aggressive with a decent offer. I think the priority this off-season should be this:
1. Retain Lin
1a. Retain JR Smith
2. Make a run at Patty Mills if he becomes a FA, stepping up the offer if Lin's a goner -- if the Spurs keep Mills, sign either 6'4" PG/SG Matt Janning or 6'3" Ben Hansbrough to back up Lin.
3. Bring back Novak -- if we can't get him, offer a league minimum salary to former Cornell star Ryan Wittman to assume the 3-pt specialist role.
4. Resign Fields as a 2/3 swingman -- if that's not in the cards, league min deal for either DaJuan Summers or Sylven Landesberg. I'd love to add Summers even if we do bring back Fields. DeShawn Sims and Joe Alexander are two other solid swingman possibilities we could get for a league min. contract.
5. Shop Jerome Jordan and Toney Douglas. Jordan may never be ready for the NBA and Douglas' option should've never been picked up. With the couple of remaining roster spots, offer a league min salary to 7' C Marcus Cousin (who's flat out a better C prospect than Jordan) and PF Jeff Adrien for frontcourt depth. Summers/Cousin/Adrien would be EXCELLENT backups for our 3 starting frontcourt stars. We should be able to get all 3 on the cheap.
6. Obviously try to move up in the draft into the first round if possible. If we stay pat in the 2nd round, I'd take a shot at more SG depth (even more paramount if Fields and JR Smith aren't brought back) and draft either 6'6" Chris Johnson from Dayton (lefty 2 that reminds me a little of Reggie Williams/James Harden) or 6'6" Kimmie English from Missouri (real good shooter - reminds me of Dale Ellis/Jodie Meeks).
Back to Patty Mills -- the Spurs will be on TNT tonight following Knicks/Bobcats at 10:30 pm.