I have been watching ESPN pretty constantly the last couple of days, at least I thought I had. The news of Patty Mills declaring for the draft must have slipped through the cracks, or been given very little air time, because I found out about it through a comment by someone on this blog (thanks Ham!). I am not surprised that Patty declared, but I wouldn’t have been surprised if he decided against it – to be honest, I feel a little more uneasy about the fact he’s giving it a shot this year. Personally I think Mills draft stock isn’t as high as it would be with another year in college, potentially facing a lot less competition at the point-guard spot in next year’s draft. But I’m also flat-out excited, because now there’s a chance every Aussie gets to cheer on another home-grown favorite in the big league.
I’m about to email Jobba to tell him to get in here and tell us all what this means – he follows the draft on an almost obssessive level. Just how high could Patty go? What teams would be interested in drafting a raw, undersized point guard? We’ll be sure to come back with some answers soon.
One other point I want to make. Patty Mills, if he gets drafted, has the potential to be a massive fan-favorite with Australians on a scale Bogut simply could not, and cannot touch. Nothing against Andrew Bogut, but he isn’t exactly the most marketable fellow. He’s similar to Tim Duncan, in that he has great fundamental skills, a strong team mentality, and not a whole lot of flashy moves. These are also reasons we love Bogut. But Patty Mills is a different kettle of fish. Patty Mills is a roadrunner, a bullet on the court, someone who can outrun a Chris Paul or a Tony Parker, someone who can throw alley-oop passes that will end up on SportsCenter. Someone who by virtue of the physical gifts he possesses, is flashy.
I think this will resonate a lot with young Aussie NBA fans who let’s face it, prefer watching And-1 style ankle-breakers rather than 10-foot turnaround bank shots. Kids will be out there on the playground trying to “be like Patty”, something which seems a whole lot more accessible and attractive than to “be like Bogut”. Again, this is not a knock on Andrew Bogut – the guy fundamentally shifted Australia’s perception towards basketball and paved the way for many others after him. But it might be Mills that takes it one step further. It might be Mills who makes the 6 o’clock news instead of the butt-end of Sports Tonight. Can you imagine?