Reebok Eurocamp, Day Two June 8, 2009 Australian Patrick Mills was absolutely the star of the evening’s all-star game, posting an impressive 30 point performance on 8/18 shooting from the field and 12/13 from the line. Mills handled the ball on a string all game long, showing terrific quickness keeping his man off balance, and making an absolute living in the mid-range area with his deadly pull-up jumper. His ability to utilize strong hesitation moves makes him extremely difficult to stay in front of, and he did a good job not settling for tough shots from beyond the arc today, getting to the line repeatedly. He clearly thrives in up-tempo settings such as the one seen in today’s all-star game, which came in stark contrast to his morning performance, where he seemed to over-dribble somewhat while trying to create in the half-court.
NBA teams we spoke to still expressed some doubt regarding his point guard skills, which is something he could still stand to work on. He posted 3 assists compared with 4 turnovers in the evening game, seeming to be hunting shots quite a bit, and didn’t look all that comfortable getting others involved. Scouts generally were impressed by the quickness and shot-creating ability he showed, and he also did a better job defensively today as well. [Read Full Article] NBA Combine Media Availability Interviews May 29, 2009
• Patrick Mills had the lowest logged shooting percentage at 36%, and the fact that he took 3.3 contested looks from the outside per game (1st) may have played a role in that. All the three pointers Mills attempted certainly didn’t help his efficiency on the college level. For as fast as Mills is, he got to the rim at an average rate and really struggled to convert once there. He also ranked last for the percentage of possessions he was fouled on—just 5%. [Read Full Article] NCAA Weekly Performers, 2/19/09 February 19, 2009 After spending last summer playing for the Australian National Team, Patrick Mills returned to Saint Mary's facing high expectations. Unfortunately for the Gaels, Mills went down with an injury to his shooting-wrist in a loss at Gonzaga on January 29th, a setback that will keep him out of action until the tail-end of the season and limit him until it is over. Though he's been helped lead his team to an 18-2 record when he's in action, Mills' draft stock isn't too far away from where it was this summer, and could even be considered a little weaker.
Before we look at what parts of the game Mills has struggled with, let's look at some of the things he does well. His most attractive asset as a prospect is his tremendous quickness and explosive first step. Mills may not be the fastest player from end to end in the NCAA, but he pushes the break as well as anyone and turns the corner at well against most defenders in the WCC. In addition to his nice athleticism, Mills also has textbook form on his jumper, displays solid ball handling ability, and produces as many steals as almost any qualified player in our database per 40-minutes pace adjusted. He's also improved his free throw shooting by over 10%, making him an ideal player to have on the floor late in games.
While each of those qualities helped Mills become one of the WCC's top players, they haven't helped him improve his inefficiency as a scorer. Last season, Mills took over half of his shots from beyond the arc –a habit that he's only improved on slightly this season. Though he's increased his 3-point percentage from 32.3% last year to 36.2% this year, his tendency to force shots from the outside takes away from his efficiency and lands him amongst the least efficient point guards we'll see in upcoming drafts in terms of true shooting percentage.
In fact, according to Synergy Sports Technology's Quantified Player Report, Mills takes twice as many jumpers from the outside as he does shots from in close –an indication that he isn't putting the quickness that garnered him a lot of attention at the Olympics to good use in half-court sets. On top of that, his efficiency as a catch and shoot player and jump shooter off the dribble are not dramatically better than they were last season. It isn't surprising that Mills has improved his scoring average since he is using a much larger percentage of his team's possessions, but he hasn't made many adjustments in how he is scoring.
When Mills does take the ball inside, he proves to be a solid finisher, but he has a lot of room for improvement in that area as well. He shows good touch around the basket at times, but struggles when defenders slide over to contest his shot since he hasn't developed a reliable floater –something that is going to be a necessary tool for him on the next level considering his lack of size and strength. The fact that Mills tends to avoid contact at the rim hurts his finishing ability and ranks him amongst the least likely players to get to the line amongst all prospects we have projected to go in upcoming drafts in terms of free throw attempts per possession. For a player that is as quick as he is, Mills would benefit greatly from improvements to his short-range game and discipline around the rim.
For a player with first round aspirations, Mills has not shown the development that would have built on his Olympic performance and made him a surefire first round pick. His point guard skills, while improving marginally, still position him as a combo guard with the potential to be a good floor general –which is not a good thing considering his size and how many players cut from a similar mold are projected to declare this spring. While the season isn't over yet, there is a strong chance that Mills will find himself firmly on the bubble should the Gaels not extend their season into the NCAA Tournament, and will need to either return to St. Mary's or show well in workouts coming off of his wrist injury to solidify his stock. [Read Full Article] Top NBA Draft Prospects in the Non-BCS Conferences (Part One: #1-5) November 10, 2008 No player in college basketball had as productive and noteworthy a summer as St. Mary’s point guard Patrick Mills. Invited back for a second stint with the Australian national team, Mills did not disappoint Coach Brian Goorjian for the confidence he put in the 20-year old, leading the team to the quarterfinals (where they lost to the gold-bound US) and emerging as their top scorer in the process after averaging 14 points in 24 minutes per game. Mills was particularly impressive in the loss to Team USA, racking up 20 points, 3 steals and 2 assists, after already showing he can hold his own in a friendly game earlier in the month with a 13 point performance in 21 minutes of action.
Needless to say, Mills had an outstanding summer, and likely became a much better player in the process thanks to the extremely high level of competition he went up against. It’s very likely that folks in the NBA paid close attention as well.
Now that he’s back at St. Mary’s, almost certainly for his final season of college basketball from what we’re hearing, Mills has a tall task at hand in order to live up to the very high expectations he created for himself. He had a strong freshman campaign last year, but showed a couple of flaws in his game that we must keep a close eye on.
The most attractive part of Mills’ profile at the moment is clearly the terrific quickness he brings to the table. He is an absolute jet in the open floor, capable of beating most anyone in a footrace from end to end, but also possesses a terrific first step which he uses quite well to turn the corner at get by his matchup in the half-court as well. Severely undersized, and not very strong at the moment to compensate, Mills’ athleticism will be a key factor in projecting how his game translates to the next level.
Despite the quickness he shows, Mills relied very heavily on his jump-shot in his first season of college basketball. 50% of his field goal attempts came from beyond the arc—of which he converted just 32%--which made him a not very efficient player in the final tally. Mills has nice shooting mechanics, good touch, and the ability to make jumpers from well beyond the college line, but his shot-selection left something to be desired at times last season.
Mills got to the free throw line at a fairly average rate last season considering the athletic advantage he enjoyed in a competition like the WCC. He lacks the size, strength and explosiveness to go up and finish amongst the trees at times, and doesn’t do a great job currently creating contact and finishing through it. His mid-range game and floater could also stand to improve. These are two things he will need to have down pat to compete more effectively in a league like the NBA at his diminutive size. He also looks less comfortable utilizing his left hand, usually preferring to pull-up off the dribble when forced in this direction rather than take the ball all the way to the rack.
Improving his ball-handling skills and doing a better job of utilizing change of speeds in his game should open things up considerably for him. He did not always do a great job of reading defenses last season, and it’s likely that as his knowledge of the game expands, he will better learn how to take advantage of his tremendous initial burst. One clear positive that came out of this summer’s experience for Mills was the more aggressive mentality he showed taking the ball strong to the rim and not settling for jumpers.
As a point guard, Mills shows some excellent qualities to build off of, but also still has quite a bit of room to continue to grow as a floor general. He is much more of a shoot-first point guard at the moment than a natural floor general, as indicated by his poor 1.22/1 assist to turnover ratio last season. He has solid court vision and is clearly not a selfish player, as well as excellent leadership skills and an unbelievable amount of confidence, but his mentality right now appears to be that of a scorer. Improving his knowledge of the game, gaining experience and doing a better job of seeing the floor will be a real test in terms of evaluating how good of a player he can become down the road.
Defensively, Mills lacks size and strength, but makes up for those deficiencies somewhat with the quickness and competitiveness he brings to the table. He is very intense and does a very good job of getting in the passing lanes, where his excellent wingspan aids him greatly. Still, his upside on this end is limited somewhat by his lack of size, which will allow bigger point guards to post him up, shoot over the top of him, and see the floor with greater ease.
This is a big season for Mills, and there isn’t a huge margin for error considering the conference he plays in. Making a deep run in the NCAA tournament is a distinct possibility considering the quality of players (especially big men) on St. Mary’s roster, and it will be important for him to take show himself as much as possible on big stages in order to erase the doubts scouts might have about his lack of size. [Read Full Article] NCAA Weekly Performers, 12/12/07--Part Two December 13, 2007 Somewhat lost in the sea of outstanding performances in this excellent class of NCAA freshman has been the play of St. Mary’s point guard Patrick Mills. The Australian teenager has led his team to a top 25 AP poll ranking, producing at a high rate and showing terrific poise and maturity in the process. Having spent three years at the world renowned Australian Institute of Sports, Mills has terrific fundamentals that are helping him make the transition to college basketball much easier.
Mills is a small and skinny point guard with long arms and good athletic ability. He is very fast in the open floor, but is not very capable of finishing above the rim. Mills relies on his outstanding skill-set and natural basketball instincts to get the job done, and is doing so incredibly well so far early on in the season, especially when considering his age
Mills’ best source of production at the moment comes from his terrific stroke from the perimeter. He has excellent shooting mechanics, with NBA plus range on his jumper, and is able to elevate nicely off the floor to create separation and get his shot off. He creates shots for himself in the mid-range area as well, and has no problem pulling up off the dribble if given just a glimpse of daylight. In an early season game we took in pitting St. Mary’s against Oregon, Mills showed his credentials as both an outstanding shooter and scorer by knocking down back to back to back 3-pointers on consecutive possessions, all in pull-up fashion, and all from NBA range. It was an impressive scoring barrage to say the least.
As a point guard, Mills looks very natural with the ball in his hands, clearly possessing natural leadership skills as well as the aggressive mentality needed to want to be a go-to guy for his team. He’s an unselfish player, looking very good making the simple pass to cutters going to the rim, or a post-entry lob to his talented big men (Omar Samhan and Diamon Simpson), and being a very quick decision maker, particularly in transition. He does a very good job pushing the ball up the floor, which is exactly the way St. Mary’s wants to play from what we can tell early on. He’s extremely clever for a player his age, already showing the ability to bait referees into making calls and the fortitude to take a team on his back when they need him to.
On the downside, he seems to have a tendency to hold the ball a little too much at times in the half-court, and at times will display questionable shot-selection. We must keep in mind that we’re talking about a freshman point guard here, meaning he should improve on these things as he gains more experience.
As a slasher, Mills can get to the rim using either hand, but clearly looks more comfortable looking for shots outside of the paint if he has the option to do so. Part of that has to do with his below average size, part with his struggles finishing at the rim (strength related), and partially due to the fact that he’s just not always strong enough to create separation from his defenders and beat the opposing big men rotating over before he reaches the basket.
Defensively, Mills does a very good job despite his lack of size and bulk. His outstanding wingspan helps him out greatly in this area, as does the toughness and tenacity he brings to the floor. He is willing to step in and take a charge when needed, and really does an excellent job getting in the passing lanes to come up with steals—looking very instinctive in the process.
All in all, Mills does not look like a prototypical early-entry type point guard, but he does have all the makings of an outstanding college player. To give himself a chance to really emerge as a draftable prospect by the time he’s done at St. Mary’s, he must endear himself to NBA executives through production and wins, rather than relying on his upside or natural physical tools. He’s a player to keep an eye on both in the WCC as well as internationally playing with the Australian National Team—which he already joined and made an excellent impact for this summer in an important Olympic Qualifying tournament against New Zealand. [Read Full Article] U-19 World Championship Review: Guards August 19, 2007 Other interesting guards included Patrick Mills, an undersized (barely reaches six feet) and very quick playmaker with limited distribution skills and an inconsistent perimeter stroke. He likes to shoot treys from the corner, although with mixed results, while he also showed nice ability to pull-up from mid range distances. He was pretty effective slashing towards the basket for his own layup or to dish the ball, his primarily source of game creation, while he stayed very active in transition. [Read Full Article] 2006 Nike Hoop Summit Game Recap April 10, 2006 ]Mills is a quick point guard, who displayed good court vision throughout the week, and made some great passes during the Hoop Summit game. He kept the ball moving nicely around the perimeter for much of the game, and had a few nice looks where he drove inside and passed it off to open teammates. The thing hurting Mills the most in terms of NBA potential is a lack of scoring ability. Not only is he not a good shooter, but Patrick also lacks the craftiness to be able to score over taller defenders in the lane. As one of the youngest players in the game, Mills will have a lot of time to improve his scoring ability. He also doesn’t play defense as well as he could, and Lawson had no trouble driving by Patrick when he wanted to. [Read Full Article]