Patty Mills has been playing behind PG Tony Parker ever since he arrived in San Antonio Spurs back in 2011 and rarely sniffed the line up for that two-year span. Parker has averaged 33.5 minutes per game since 2011. The problem of playing-time was exacerbated with the fact that coach Gregg Popovich often used SG Manu Ginoboli as his second unit point guard in the past. On certain occasions, former Spurs combo guard Gary Neal was pressed into service at the point as well. That left very few minutes for Mills. He and PG Cory Joseph would split what little was left. But with the departure of Neal, and the advanced age of Ginoboli, Patty may average more minutes per game this season than at any point in his career.
Another problem that he was dealing with was his style of play. Mills is a shoot-first (second and third) point guard, and he has had a tumultuous love affair with the three-point line throughout his career. The problem is the Spurs never really needed him to score. He was asked to distribute the basketball and be more of a game manager, only shooting within the flow of the game.
But Patty never really seemed to understand what a game manager was supposed to do and would simply do his thing, which would result in an early yank from Coach Pop. Mills has the game of a shooting guard, but is just too small to play or defend the position in the NBA. He also takes questionable shots at times as well. It will be interesting to see whether the San Antonio head coach will simply allow him to do his thing this season, or whether he will continue seeing sporadic minutes as was the case in seasons past.
Ricardo A. Hazell is a freelance sports writer for Rant Sports based in New York City. You may follow him on Twitter at NikosMightyDad or add him to your network on Google Plus.