Tuesday, June 23, 2009

NBA Draft Prospects: Patty Mills, St. Mary's

Stats: 18.4 ppg, 3.9 apg, 2.2 spg, 2.9 t/o's, 40.2% FG, 33.8% 3PT, 85.9% FT

Listed Size: 6'0", 175 lb, 8/11/1988 (20 years old)

(photo credit: Contra Costa Times)

About Him: Last summer, Patty Mills was shooting up NBA draft boards. Why? Not only was he the only college guy playing in the Olympics, he also just so happened to be lighting up Beijing - including dropping 20 (along with 3 steals and 2 assists) on the USA team. And while he looked great in the Olympics, when he came back to school, Mills did little to ease the previous concerns about his game. He ended the year by breaking a bone in his hand and sitting out most of the last two months of the year.

In fact, Mills may have actually hurt his draft status this season. But before we get to the negatives, let's look at what he does well. Mills is in the conversation with Darren Collison and Ty Lawson has the fastest guys in this years draft class. He can really get out and lead the break, as he is able to beat defenders down the floor.

His quickness also makes him a dangerous player in the half court as he can (theoretically) turn the corner on most defenders, especially in a pick-and-roll situation. Another aspect where Mills' quickness makes him dangerous is in the passing lanes as he averaged well over 2 spg this past season. This helps make up for the fact that Mills does not project as a great defensive player in a 1-on-1 setting - his size and strength is not quite up to NBA standards even for a PG.

Mills is also an excellent shooter from deep. He has picture perfect form, a quick release, and can hit it from about 25 feet consistently off the dribble or the catch. This is also Mills' biggest problem - he falls in love with this shot, and has a tendency to force tough ones (he led the class of PG's with 3.3 contested threes attempted per game).

Not only does this take away from his efficiency as a scorer (he shots just under 34% from deep), but he means that Mills is not taking advantage of his quickness. You would think a guy with his first step would be able to get into the paint at will, but Mills did not. There are two possible reasons for this: Mills is neither a great ballhandler or a great finisher in the paint. He is not explosive enough to challenge people at the rim, and he has yet to develop a floater (a shot which he must if he ever plans on sticking in the league). Mills did not have the confidence in his penetration ability, and thus settled for tough threes.

Comparisons: Best Case: Less athletic Bobby Jackson, Aaron Brooks; Worst Case: Poor man's Luke Ridnour.

Bottom Line: Mills definitely has some athletic tools that could end up making him an NBA player, but he has yet to learn how to use those tools within his game. Short, scoring PG's that shoot a lot are a dime a dozen. Will he ever learn how to use his quickness? Right now he looks like an early second rounder.


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