Mills close to return and eager to contribute
By Max Mandel
When the Portland Trail Blazers selected Patty Mills with the 55th pick in the NBA draft, they were getting a player with tremendous experience against the elite competition in the basketball world. Not only did Mills put together an outstanding two year career at St. Mary’s, but he also starred as a member of the Australian National Team at the 08’ Summer Olympics.
Mills is still on the road to recovery from an injury to his right foot. However, over the past couple of weeks, Mills is starting to get back the quickness and explosiveness that made him such a sensation before the draft.
“Overall, I’m pretty good,” Mills said of his recovery. “ Since I’ve been back running and being able to do a lot more, which has only been two and a half ,three weeks. I’m feeling good about it. “
With all the injuries that the Trail Blazers have suffered this season, Mills knows that he needs to be ready to contribute sooner than expected.
“Now that we have unfortunately had players go down, I got to be ready as soon as I can. I need to be able to bring whatever I can to the team.”
While he was at St. Mary’s, Mills provided an excellent scoring option from the point guard position. Now that he is surrounded by guys like Brandon Roy and LaMarcus Aldridge, Mills expects to play more of a distributing point guard role.
“I think my role is going to change a lot,” Mills explained. “We got enough people here that can score the basketball. I think for me to be able to step in and come step on the floor straight away, I’m going to have to be a pure point guard. It’s hard from my position, coming in this way through the season, and I need to learn not only my position but everybody else’s. I have a tough task, but if that opportunity does come up, I have to be ready.”
One huge advantage Mills has over lots of other rookie guards is the ability to learn from guys like Andre Miller and Brandon Roy.
“It’s great for me,” Mills said of the learning opportunity. “You don’t really look at is as a disadvantage, but instead as an advantage because they are such great players. Most of the time you have to pick a piece of their mind and knowledge to try and help yourself, so that’s what I’ve been doing. “