Patty Mills has paved a remarkable path in his NBA career so far. Playing under the legendary Gregg Popovich, and alongside future Hall of Fame players in Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker, Mills has been a staple in the Spurs' rotation. Drafted by the Portland Trailblazers with the sixth last pick in the 2008 NBA draft, 55th overall, Mills has overcome all obstacles to become one of the league's most reliable back up guards.
Mills was drafted out of St Mary's College, just west of Oakland, California. Running a basketball program that has become an Australian basketball factory over the best part of two decades, the Gaels have had at least one Aussie on their roster since 2001. Mills and current Milwaukee Buck Matthew Dellavedova, both NBA champions, arethe marquee names to make it in the NBA. Over two college seasons, Mills averaged 16.4 points per game, helping the Gaels reach the NCAA tournament in 2008.
Last Friday morning, Mills knocked down his 662nd three pointer with San Antonio. This moved him to third in franchise history for three point makes, which is frankly an incredible achievement.
In moving to third, Mills passed three-time NBA champion Bruce Bowen, now only trailing current Spurs teammates in Danny Green and Manu Ginobili.
Now in his ninth year in the league (7 with SA, 2 with Portland), Mills has predominantly come off the bench, making his shooting numbers even more extraordinary. Patty has played 507 NBA games in his career, only starting in 38 of those. He averages just 17.8 minutes per game, knocking down 1.4 triples per contest.
Mills has been inserted into the starting lineup for the last seven games however, as the Spurs are in danger of missing the playoffs for the first time in 20 seasons. In those seven starts, Mills has averaged 11.4 points per game, connecting on 34 percent of his three-point tries.
With Mills signing a 4 year, 50 million dollar deal with San Antonio this past off-season, he is set to remain a Spur until the end of the 2021 season. With veteran guards Tony Parker and Ginobili at the end of their careers, Patty's role figures to only increase further in the future. At 29 years old and in the prime of his career, Mills looks set to cement his place near the top of San Antonio's three-point shooting records in the years to come. Whether Manu can be chased down remains to be seen, but one things for certain, he will continue to let it fly.
NBA champion, 50 million dollar contract, third all-time on a franchise record list; not bad too for a guy who came perilously close to missing out on draft night.