Despite another year gone by to age their core, the San Antonio Spurs have maintained their presence as one of the more dominant forces in the NBA. Undoubtedly you have to attribute much of that to the genius of head coach Gregg Popovich, but a lot of credit is also due to the Spurs’ role players stepping up across the board.
One of the most unexpected contributors for San Antonio this season has been reserve guard Patty Mills. After seeing the floor sparingly in his first few years with the Spurs, Mills has been a regular in their rotation this season and has performed well. Playing a career-high 18.4 minutes per game in 74 contests this season, Mills has averaged 9.9 points, two rebounds, 1.8 assists and 0.9 steals while shooting 46.2 percent from the floor and 41.3 percent from three.
Seeing this breakout season from Mills as a reserve for the Spurs, though, it begs the question of why he hasn’t been seeing time off of the bench before this season. In the best way possible, Popovich answered that question in an interview with the San Antonio Express-News.
He was a little fat ass. He had too much junk in the trunk. His decision making wasn’t great, and he wasn’t in great shape. He changed his entire body. He came back svelte and cut and understood you have to make better decisions, point-guard type decisions. He did all those things better and he earned it. He’s been real important to us, obviously.
Popovich is right in that Mills has shown off a noticeably better physique which has better allowed him to become a ball of energy that can spark the offense for this team. We know he’s been a big part of this team this season, but his future in the NBA is the next question at hand regarding Mills.
Mills becomes an unrestricted free-agent after this season, which makes you wonder if the Spurs will bring him back. While he’s been big for them in yet another fantastic run, he could be considered to be another interchangeable piece under Popovich. If that’s the case and if Mills can keep from being “a little fat a**” this summer, he could earn a nice payday this summer.