Mills will make a statement: Brown
Boomer Patrick Mills in action. Photo: Vince Caligiuri
Australian coach Brett Brown is banking on a more focused and mature Patty Mills to ''make a statement'' when the Canberra product spearheads the Boomers at the London Olympics.
The San Antonio Spurs point guard will join his Boomers teammates in Melbourne next week before the farewell series against Greece, starting on June 24.
Andrew Bogut's injury-enforced absence means Mills in the only NBA player in the Australian squad, placing plenty of responsibility on the talented 23-year-old's shoulders.
Mills has impressed since joining the Spurs earlier this year, averaging 10.3 points per game in 16 appearances in the regular season, including an Australian-high 34 points in a game against the Golden State Warriors. But his playing time diminished during the playoffs as the Spurs made it all the way to the Western Conference finals.
''I think we're going to see a far more focused and mature Patty Mills,'' said Brown, who is also an assistant coach at the Spurs.
''He didn't have much of a role during the playoffs but he shined when it mattered.
''We all think we know Patty, but I've seen a growth in him as a person and a player. He's on a mission to come in and make a statement.''
Mills is preparing for his second Olympic Games after being blooded as a teenager in Beijing in 2008.
Those performances led to the St Mary's college star getting drafted by the Portland Trailblazers a year later.
Mills spent two seasons with the Trailblazers and had stints with Chinese club Xinjiang Flying Tigers and the Melbourne Tigers in the NBL before being signed by the Spurs in March.
His accuracy from behind the three-point line will aid a Boomers team which struggled with its long-range shooting in the just-completed series with China.
The Boomers missed their first eight three-point attempts before finishing with six-of-20 in their 78-55 win in Perth on Wednesday night.
The ninth-ranked Australians will need to improve rapidly if they are to contend for a medal in London. But with Mills and Europe-based contingent Joe Ingles, David Andersen, Brad Newley, Aleks Maric and AJ Ogilvy to be brought into the mix, Brown is quietly confident with the squad at his disposal.
''I feel like we're at a period of our time where we can do something special with this particular team,'' Brown said.
''I look at our group as players that are at a great age. They're experienced. They have tremendous character and chemistry.
''They understand the program's built on defence.
''But we're going to need to shoot the ball well and at a greater percentage.''
Australia has to name its 12-man Olympic squad by June 20. with AAP