Cashing in on great performances under the spotlight is nothing new. Who can forget cornerback Larry Brown from the Dallas Cowboys? He had two interceptions that were right to him from Neil O’Donnell in the Super Bowl. He won MVP and combined that fortunate night to a big payday with the Oakland Raiders.
In the NBA, Robert Horry made his living in the playoffs. Year after year he would shine once late April, May, and June arrived. In the regular season though he was a below average player. JJ Barea flourished as a Dallas Maverick which in turn led to his big contract for Minnesota. And now Patty Mills seems to be the latest in line to get an unexpected profitable contract in a few weeks.
He was one of many catalysts for the Spurs that ignited their sizzling offense. With the Spurs ball movement working to perfection, Mills was often wide open for three point shots. Yes he did make them, but the fact is he was wide open 90% of the time. Mills did help his cause by playing sound defense and causing a few offensive fouls.
I’m just not sure Mills is going to warrant a big contract. He shined for the Spurs in relatively a small scale of minutes. The bulk of these minutes either came against the Heat’s second unit (nothing to write home about) or against the Heat’s first unit with a big lead in hand. Most of those big leads the Heat’s first team was gassed. Spoelstra was just trying to seek out a counter run with his starters in the game.
Jeff Van Gundy did a fine job pointing out that Mills is realistically 5’8 and not 6’0. This was even more evident when the Spurs were on the floor for their NBA title. While standing next to all of his teammates including Tony Parker, Mills looked much shorter than six feet.
A lot of teams are going to be giving Mills a call to detract him from San Antonio. Poppovich and the Spurs likely won’t be able to match any big offers, and are prepared to let him go. Just last summer, Mills was in Las Vegas for the summer league with a roster spot up in the air. His conditioning and work ethic in the offseason is what propelled him past former first round pick Cory Joseph.
Starter’s minutes might not be the best thing for Patty Mills. Undersized he would be vulnerable to a nightly beating. Also, he never really gave the Spurs a spark as a passing point guard. The Spurs moved the ball well as a team not individually. It’ll be a part of his game we have not seen on the professional level, if he is capable of running a team as an individual.
You can compare the Spurs to Duke in college basketball. They get the best out of all their players but a transition to a new team doesn’t always pan out. Duke has always received a label of sending bust athletes to the NBA. San Antonio typically does a good job in keeping their talent, but they’ve had a few leave as part of trades or free agents.
The last to do so that played well as a Spur was George Hill. To say Hill has not lived up to his trade value for Indiana is an understatement.
Mills agent and Mills should seek the best contract he can get. But at the end of the day I don’t see Mills capable of being an every day starter.