Australian star Patty Mills continued to catch the eye for the San Antonio Spurs, with an impressive performance in the 103-74 destruction of LeBron James and his Cleveland team.
Heading into the postseason, the Spurs showed just why so many teams will be hoping to avoid them in the playoffs. They took apart the reigning champions in brutal fashion, with Mills playing an important role to further enhance his claim as a potential Sixth Man of the Year. While there is still a long way to go this year, Mills' form this season is just another reason why San Antonio fans are feeling so confident about 2017.
Now in his sixth season with the Spurs, Mills has established himself as a crucial part of this San Antonio roster. The point guard wasted little time in winning over the Spurs fans, with his energy and selfless play making him an important member of the team and an ideal backup for Tony Parker. The 28-year-old is strong in all areas of the court and a reliable man to turn to, whether it be shooting, defending or creating. For a San Antonio team set to make a real run at the playoffs, with odds of 6/1 to win the championship, Mills may be a major player over the next month or so.
On the back of a stand-out showing for Australia in last year's Olympics, in which he averaged 21.3 points, there were some high expectations for Mills this season, and the point guard has lived up to that hype. Averaging just under 10 points a game with 1.8 rebounds and a career-high 3.4 assists, Mills has been shooting at a very reliable 44 percent from the field. When starting, the Aussie's stats are even better, averaging over 13 points and six assists, proving that the Spurs have a very capable replacement for Parker and an awesome weapon to have on the bench.
That said, there has been a growing call from some that Mills should actually replace Parker in this starting lineup. While the Frenchman has been an instrumental part of this team for over a decade, the veteran will be under no illusions that Mills is knocking on the door and more than capable of stepping up to replace him if his form drops. For the time being, however, the Aussie appears happy to chip in from the bench and help his team in any way he can unless Parker's injury problems return.
Something that might not have been on Mills' radar at the start of the season will have been in regards the Sixth Man of the Year. While the likes of Eric Gordon and Lou Williams appear to be leading the race for the honour, Mills has done more than enough to justify being included in the conversation. Capable of bringing the best out of his teammates while contributing in all areas of the court, Mills will have a massive role to play as the Spurs look to win a sixth championship.