Everybody loves Patty

Its been nearly 20 games with Patrick Mills in the Blazers regular rotation, and it seems right across the NBA people are queuing up to profess their love for the Vegemite-y Mouse himself, or so it may seem.

Patty Mills with each game is appearing to become comfortable with his role and the team overall getting comfortable with Mills, however it seems people out there in fan land seem to be pointing out his short comings (pardon the pun)

The statistics are interesting. Mills has been in Portland's rotation for 19 games, since coach Nate McMIllian threw out the stick and called "fetch" from the end of the bench dog house, and the little terrier has seen the team produce 11-7 record as a result compared to the 8 - 9 before his introduction. Portland are 5-1 when Mills plays more than 20 minutes.

Mills is not your typical NBA prospect, which makes him hard for people to quantify. Some appear to look at him like a European prospect, following a path that typically goes playing pro ball in Europe before landing in the NBA. Mills never actually did that, plus Australia is farther from Europe than the USA.

Some see him as the 2nd round draft choice (pick 55) from a middle road school in a weak division of the NCAA, while others just cannot get past the fact that he is 5'11 on a good day and he has a funny voice.

Patrick Mills road to the NBA really doesn't follow any traditional path.

Patty played basketball in high school until the tenth grade, then went into and played for the AIS (Australian institute of Sport,) which is like a finishing school for professional athletes in Australia with a view to create world class Olympic athletes. The Institute play in the SEABL division of the Australian Basketball Association, which to compare to the American system is like having the best high school prospects in the country put together in a team and entered into a Mid Major college division.

From there Mills got noticed and promptly was offered a scholarship to play for St Marys Collage in Moraga California where he played 2 seasons for the Gaels (one of which he spent over half the season injured) then onto the NBA. However it was a stint with the Australian National Team where he made a name for himself.

In Australia, basketball is not a popular sport, it sits behind Australian Rules Football, Rugby League, Rugby Union (they are 3 different sports for those playing at home) Cricket, Tennis and Soccer as far as popularity is concerned. The result of this is the development channels down under are not as 'refined' as you would find in the USA, Asia or Europe, so the players come from further back from a coaching stand point.

The most common detractions on the Mills are this;

Patty Mills is short.

Patty Mills gives up points on D (because he is short)

Patty Mills cant penetrate.

Patty Mills turns the ball over.

The only thing true of all of that is that he is short, and you can't coach height into a player, but with his rate of improvement thus far, suggestion that he can't work on and improve the other things is just predetermined prejudice.

In my native tongue I say 'give a mate his dues' Patty Mills had less than an inch of a chance to make the NBA when he landed at the Portland Trail Blazers last year as an un-contracted second round draft choice, and was very nearly gone a number of times when he broke his foot before the 2010 Summer League, but here we are 18 months on and people are ordering number 8 Jerseys from the gift shop.

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