Patty Mills arrives in Melbourne, will play in Saturday's Olympic qualifier
Your prayers have been answered, hoops fans. The bala is back!
With Danté Exum out indefinitely due to an unfortunate ACL tear in his left knee, Patty Mills has answered coach Andrej Lemanis' call, with the San Antonio Spurs guard set to suit up for the Aussie Boomers for Saturday's Olympic qualifier vs New Zealand.
A photo posted by Patty Mills (@balapat) on Aug 9, 2015 at 11:33pm PDT
Mills' initial omission from the Boomers was due to concerns over the rehab of his shoulder, an injury he's been nursing since the Spurs' 2014 Championship run. Despite these concerns, Mills expressed his excitement to rejoin the national team.
I’m looking forward to joining my Boomers teammates for this very important qualification series against New Zealand. Playing for my country has always been an honour for me.
Obviously my shoulder injury last year meant that I had to continue intensive rehab and quality training over the past few months. I've done that and will be ready for the Oceania Championships.
My focus now is helping my Boomers teammates qualify for Rio 2016.
The inclusion of Mills puts the Boomers roster at 12 players, four of whom are currently signed with NBA teams - Andrew Bogut of the recently crowned Golden State Warriors, Matthew Dellavedova of the Cleveland Cavaliers, Cameron Bairstow of the Chicago Bulls, and, of course, San Antonio Spurs guard Patty Mills.
Boomers head coach Andrej Lemanis is confident that the addition of Mills will be a difference-maker heading into the FIBA Oceania Championships, with the Spurs guard already accustomed to the Boomers' style of play.
Although Dante’s injury is still fresh in our mind, we need to adapt quickly and move on as our focus now is on beating New Zealand.
Patty is the best-placed player to come into the team quickly. He’s an elite player, an NBA Champion and seasoned at International play and importantly, knows the Boomers’ system and style of play.
If we were going to add a player to replace Dante, we needed someone who can help us beat New Zealand and that is Patty Mills.
With around 500 tickets remaining, the inclusion of Mills is expected to boost the sales of the event, taking place this Saturday (August 15, 2015) at Melbourne's Rod Laver Arena.
The event will be broadcast live on Nine Network's free-to-air channel, GEM - the Australian Opals tipping off at 6:35pm (AEST) against the New Zealand Tall Ferns, followed by the Australian Boomers vs Tall Blacks fixture, tipping off at 8:30pm (AEST)