Making The Case for Patrick Mills
Mills seems to be stuck as the third point guard in the San Antonio Spurs' rotation, but when he has played this season he's brought much needed qualities to the backup slot to Tony Parker. The Spurs have two other players who can play the position and who are earning more minutes over Mills in Gary Neal and Nando De Colo. Both men have a different game compared to Mills and they also mix well with the team, but here's to making the case for Patrick Mills to be the backup PG to Tony Parker.
Speed - His quickness and speed rivals Parker's. In the open court, he's a lethal weapon and open a lot of the time. You put him in with Manu Ginobili, Boris Diaw, and Stephen Jackson as the second unit, that's a versatile group that can shoot the 3 and pass the ball while looking to run every posession.
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Its a long regular season and not yet half over so who knows who ends up behind Parker. I get the feeling that Pop is not yet impressed with his assists.
I love Patty's energy game. He reminds of Earl Watson as an annoying waterbug-type defender. He's fearless with the three point shot and makes the most of the few minutes he gets.
Question is whether he can start getting into the paint and to the rim like Parker. If he can master drive-and-dish moves, he can start pushing for some of TP's minutes. That's not in evidence yet.
I hate to say this but I'm not going worry about Pop's rotation until we're past the trade deadline. We still could use another big man who can help this team and for some reason I think our current players, with an exception of a few, are just auditioning for a part on the team. Once we're on the south end of February I think Pop will start going with a set rotation for the drive for five.
I think Pop just wants to stick with Neal as the back up PG, even though 3 years in its painfully clear he's not a good PG. Lately I've seen Neal, Manu, and Green or Jax on the court, and Manu brings the ball up most of the time. But I just don't like Neal as the back up PG, he gets trapped at half court, he doesn't have great handles, his passing is okay, but he really works best off the ball, curling off screens for jumpers.
When we got Mills last year I was stoked because I felt Mills added a dimension we lost with TJ ford, a good ball handler, who was quick and allowed the guys to play off the ball. But Mills rarely found his way off the bench and now he is kind of reserved for garbage time.
Also I feel like Mills or DeColo are much better options, but Pop is playing a gimpy beat up Neal as the back up instead of inserting Mills.
I agree 100% with you SleepyAdamII It is killing me to see Pop sticking with Neal as a back up PG. Neal is a Horrible back up PG. His decisions are so SLOW on the ball and he gets attacked so easily and he loses the ball most of the time. He does not fit here as a PG and maybe we should play him only a back up SG option after Green and Manu.
More often Manu ends up saving the day with Manu taking over the Back up PG when Neal falls like a "Deer in the Headlight" Thrown in the combat zone...
I do believe that Pop is looking for the consistent SCORER as soon as TP goes to the bench to take a breather and Gary Neal is a proven Volume Shooter even in PO (when fully healthy and in rhythm) and since Manu was inconsistent for a while Pop had to rely on Gary to bring the scoring as TP rests. Now that Manu became more consistent maybe Pop would have Mills coming in for back up PG rather than third back up PG.
As for dishing the ball and getting every Spurs player involved, it is done by committee when TP is on the bench. They are doing well because of Manu holding the forte as TP goes to rest. Timmy also is a great passer and Diaw too.
Mills does have some similarities to TJ Ford and I can see Mills developed much better and faster and smarter on the back up PG vs starters material not vs. reserves in garbage time.
As for Nando he still lacks more playing time and more experience plus we don't want him to burn out since he is a rookie. I think Pop sending him to the D League is doing him a great option to develop faster. Nando can be the third option after Mills on PG.
The thing I can think of is Pop might be looking for whoever he can afford to keep here, maybe Pop is also experimenting who he can keep and would not afford to keep next year that is the only thing I can think why Pop keeps playing Neal that many minutes vs Mills that we might even not be able to afford to keep next year... Who knows!!?
I would much rather have Mills coming in with the second unit than Neal. Half the time when Neal is out there I feel he gets too trigger happy. I think Sean has said it multiple times on air that Neal is reliable on his 3's only when his feet are set. Half the time his body is still twisting in the air after coming off a screen and thats when he starts clanking them. Not like Mills doesn't throw up some ill advised 3's also but I'm tired of the first unit getting a decent lead and then the second unit coming in and giving it all back when they stop sharing the ball. I know its pretty nitpicky even for this time of the season and who knows if consistent time for Mills would even help this though...
From my point of view I would also prefer Mills over Neal however in Neal's defense he has been with the team longer than the other two. As Mills and Nando get more experience I believe they will get more playing time.
pop is showcasing neal... i really hope a trade involvig blair, bonner and only neal maybe joseph.... for athletic, over 6'8'with at least 7'2' wingspan defensive minded guy..
I saw it again with Neal as the back up PG. Manu had to take the ball and create for every play, 2005 Manu , I'm okay with, 2013 Manu isn't the same player. I hope Mills could alleviate Manu of having to create on every offensive play with tony out. Tough loss tonight, but the spurs need to set a rotation now and stick to it.
even if they full court press, Manu is still the better option but they're going to press so Neal can get the ball. Once he has it, he won't be able to do anything.
in a way, i'm glad people are starting to see how bad Neal is. maybe we can end this whole "CIA Pop" or "In Pop I Trust" stuff. the guy is a smart coach, but he's being too stubborn on this. Mills would be a huge improvement over him.
won't state any reasons here, go read the article ;) lol
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