When Portland Trail Blazers second year point guard Patty Mills decided to show up to camp, it came as something of a surprise because he is the 16th Blazer on a 15-man roster, the fourth point guard on a team that barely has room for three. Why did he show up?
"I'm coming here because I got drafted here," Mills told me today. "I love Portland, but it is a full roster. For me [camp is about] coming in to keep learning. Now that I'm healthy, it's my first training camp just to get out there and keep playing. You can't ask for more than that. Right now we'll just see how it unfolds."
Mills confirmed reports from this summer that he has received international offers. "There have been some offers overseas," he said before reiterating that his first priority is sticking in the NBA. "That's how it's going to be. We've let those people who have offered overseas, we've let them know that [the NBA is my first priority]."
Mills said that the NBDL is "definitely not" an option that he is considering if he doesn't make the Blazers roster. But it's not Portland or bust. "There is a backup plan," Mills admitted. "But we're going to go through the whole Plan A first before we even start thinking about anything else. All of the options are still open."
As part of the Australian National Team that competed in the 2010 FIBA World Championships, Mills enjoyed a busy but productive summer. "I started off the offseason and went back home. I was with the international team and we played a bunch of exhibition games all over Australia. Then Summer League, then after that it was full-on camps all over Australia, tours in China and Europe and then the World Championships, obviously, so it's been a busy offseason."
His goal no matter where he lands this fall is to see more court time. "The most important thing for me is just to get out there on the floor," Mills said. "I missed however many months with my foot. Last season not getting on the court a whole lot. Just to get out there and get consistent game time. I'm trying to get into a situation where I can play a lot."