So Patty Mills just decided to declare for the NBA draft, as Rob posted yesterday. Before I get into some deep analysis, a quick recap on the situation. Mills has declared for the draft without signing an agent. This means a few things:

  • Without an agent, he can take his name out of the draft before June 15th
  • If he was to sign an agent, he would be locked in to the draft and could not pull out (for NCAA Division 1 is not seen as a professional organization)
  • If he decides to pull out of the draft and enter his name in next year’s 2010 draft, he would locked in to that draft – regardless of whether he hires an agent or not in 2010

It is an interesting situation. Right now, Patty Mills is in the draft equivalent of purgatory – not really knowing where his stock lies, and not really knowing what could happen. So to help, I’ve put together a list of pro’s and con’s as to whether Patty should stay in, or get out.

Reasons to Stay In
First and foremost, this is one year after his Beijing experience. A very parallel story of Patty Mills’ lead up to the draft is that of another Aussie, the big seven-footer Andrew Bogut. Bogut roared onto the scene in the Under 19 World Championships (which Australia won) and he himself nabbed the MVP of the tournament. Mills did a similar thing, though it was another possible early entry nominee AJ Ogilvy who was seen as the better NBA prospect. From here however, his stock was raised, much like Bogut’s was at the Olympics, when they played the USA. Bogut matched up against Duncan and fared very well. Mills was up against a three-headed point guard monster in Kidd, Chris Paul and Deron Williams, and he like Bogut, performed admirably.  This is important for at the very least, scouts and managers of NBA teams know he can be effective at a higher level. A second year away from that (if Patty drops out of the draft) could “dilute” all that hype that Mills’ built up in Beijing, depending on how he plays of course.

Secondly, his college team will probably not be as good as last years. The big three for the St. Mary’s Gaels this past season was obviously Mills at the head, but with the second best rebounding duo in Division 1 basketball Omar Samhan and Diamon Simpson playing alongside him. Both Samhan and Simpson however are Seniors and will not play next year. This basically means that whilst the Gael’s will be a force in WCC, it will be very hard for them to get into the March Tournament unless they win the end of the year conference tournament. I cannot see them getting a ranking or an at large bid into the tournament next year. In saying that, there are some very talented underclassmen on the Gaels’ roster – most Australian’s. So I suppose you never know.

Reasons to Pull Out
His hand injury hurt him a lot. Not only did the Gaels get knocked out of the tournament, but that four weeks saw the rise of some other point guards to higher positions in terms of draft stock. Before the injury, rankings probably would have had Mills battling for the second or third point guard taken in the draft. Now however, its extremely hard to place. That and not making the NCAA tournament hurt a lot. Most scouts would have loved to see Mills go up against the best point guards in NCAA division 1, but instead, he only faced off against Stephen Curry of Davidson in the NIT.

He was rarely played as a traditional point guard. As I said before, Mills was basically discovered at the Under 19s World Championships a few years back. The knock on him then, the knock on him last college season and the knock on him after the Beijing Olympics, was that he was more of a scoring point, or a full court point as opposed to a point guard who can facilitate in the half court. By going back to college, he could show that he is capable of running the show and getting others involved from the point guard spot. However, it would seem on the face of it that this wouldn’t happen – the Gaels would need Mills to score more than ever.

Lastly, there is a plethora of point guards in this draft. From the top you have Brandon Jennings (Roma), followed by (probable – hasn’t yet declared) Ty Lawson from UNC. Then it is really a toss up between Stephen Curry, Eric Maynor, Jeff Teague and Patty Mills with Syracuse’s Jonny Flynn being the pick of the lot. This could all be pushed back one with probable second overall pick Ricky Rubio a bigger chance of declaring.

Looking at they have Mills going at 23, and have him going as the first pick of the second round. I’d say glancing at things he is still a possibility to go from anywhere between 20-40, depending on team needs and obviously individual workouts during the pre-Draft period. However, in saying all that, I can legitimately see 17 of 30 NBA teams taking a point guard – either for rotations, starters or future starters.

All in all, the obvious comment to leave with is that as the draft draws closer, we should get a better idea of what Mills will do and how he is rated. My advice? Test the process, and probably go back. I’d say he could be as high as the second best point guard in the 2010 draft as opposed to a possible 7th overall ranked point guard in the 2009 draft class. But, many have been in a similar position as Mills is in this year, and have gone undrafted in the following 2 years.

Either way, I’ll finish on the phrase ‘Aussie, Aussie, Aussie!”

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