Patty Mills continued improvement on the court throughout last season was duly rewarded with a four-year, $50 million dollar deal to stick with the Spurs. He spoke to the media about accepting a leadership role in furthering the Spurs culture.
"It was obviously one of those processes that I've never been through before, so to be able to try to prepare as much as I can for it," explained Mills to a media crowd court side.
"But at the end of the day it was knowing-- and a reminder I guess-- as to how important I was to this organisation, not only for now, but for the future as well.
"Drawing that bridge between everyone before us here, and preparing for the future. Understanding that this culture needs to keep moving forward and needs to keep growing. And I am in a position to be able to bridge that gap. It is something that I feel I can do very naturally. It's a leadership role, and I was more than happy to be reminded of that, and be reminded of how much you are appreciated.
Mills' comments backed up those he shared back in July, not long after signing his new deal.
“The values [the organisation and myself] share are very similar, and they saw me as a big part of their culture. I’m really thrilled to go back there for another four years,” Mills said at the time.
“I think I’ve been in a fortunate place in San Antonio because it really [resembles] an Australian feel of culture, trying to have a family environment and they do such a good job of that.
“After settling in there and understanding what they are all about and what I’m all about, it’s a successful program for a reason, they’ve made it to the playoffs 20 years in a row.”
The Spurs have a long history of nurturing talent and looking after their own as part of an impressive culture established under Popovich which is the envy of the rest of the NBA. Mills recognised he was part of something special, and repaid the Spurs for their faith in him by deciding to return.