Patrick Sammy "Patty" Mills (born 11 August 1988) is an Australian professional basketball player for the San Antonio Spurs of the National Basketball Association (NBA). Mills was selected by the Portland Trail Blazers with the 55th overall pick in the 2009 NBA draft after playing two years of college basketball for Saint Mary's. Born and raised in Canberra, Mills is of Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal Australian descent. In 2007, he became only the third indigenous basketball player to play for Australia behind Olympians Michael Ah Matt (1964) and Danny Morseu (1980–84).
In 2011, during the NBA lockout, Mills returned to Australia to play for the Melbourne Tigers of the National Basketball League (NBL). He later had a stint in China with the Xinjiang Flying Tigers, before returning to the United States in March 2012 and signing with the San Antonio Spurs. From there, he became a strong contributor off the bench and helped the Spurs win the 2014 NBA Championship against the Miami Heat.
Mills with the Spurs in February 2014
|No. 8 – San Antonio Spurs|
11 August 1988|
|Listed height||6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)|
|Listed weight||185 lb (84 kg)|
|College||Saint Mary's (2007–2009)|
|NBA draft||2009 / Round: 2 / Pick: 55th overall|
|Selected by the Portland Trail Blazers|
|2009–2011||Portland Trail Blazers|
|2011–2012||Xinjiang Flying Tigers|
|2012–present||San Antonio Spurs|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Stats at NBA.com|
|Stats at Basketball-Reference.com|
Mills was born in the Australian capital city of Canberra. Mills' father, Benny, is a Torres Strait Islander, and his mother, Yvonne, is an Aboriginal Australian. His mother was a victim of the Stolen Generations – one of the darkest chapters of Australian history, with the forced removal of many indigenous children from their families from the earliest days of European settlement until the 1960s.
Mills first took up basketball as a four-year-old for a local indigenous club his parents established called "The Shadows". Growing up, he was the ball boy for the Canberra Cannons of the National Basketball League (NBL). Mills' future coach at Saint Mary's, David Patrick, played for the Cannons during that time and developed a relationship with the Mills family.
As well as playing basketball, Mills also played underage Australian rules football at a high level. In 2004, Mills was competing for the Australian Capital Territory in the national schoolboys Australian rules tournament in Perth when a recruiter for the Sydney Swans asked him if he'd like to come to Sydney and play in the Australian Football League (AFL). Mills briefly thought about taking up the Swans scholarship before rejecting it to concentrate on basketball. In 2005, he made a strong impression at the Australian Olympic Youth Festival, an event considered to be a showcase for future elite sporting talents.
2006 was a big year for Mills. In January, he was awarded the prestigious RE Staunton Medal at the U20 Nationals in Perth and also attended the Australian Junior Camp in his home town of Canberra at the beginning of 2006. As a member of the 2006 Junior National Men's Team, Mills helped Australia defeat New Zealand and qualify for the 2007 Junior Men's World Championships. In April, Mills was a member of the World Junior Select Team that competed against the United States in the Nike Hoop Summit. The Nike Hoop Summit Game matches the top international players against the top United States high school players. In that game, Mills had eight points and six assists.
Mills was named the winner of the 2006 SEABL U/21 Australian Youth Player of the Year award. Mills averaged 18.1 points and 3.9 rebounds and helped the AIS to a 16–10 regular season record, finishing third in the league, behind a 12-game winning streak mid way through the year. The 2006 SEABL East Men Australian Youth Player of the Year finished the season third in assists in the SEABL, averaging 4.37 per game and finished fourth in the Golden Hands Award. He recorded double-digit points in 19 of 21 games and scored a season-high 25 points against Kilsyth in the second round of the league championships.
During the year, Mills was the youngest athlete selected in the 22-man extended Australian Boomers squad ahead of the 2006 FIBA World Championship. In July, he was named the 2006 Junior Male Player of the Year at Basketball Australia's annual Junior Basketball Awards.
Mills was named the "most promising new sports talent" at the 2006 Deadlys Awards. The Deadlys Awards honor Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islanders achievements in sports, music, entertainment and community. In addition to the Deadlys Award, he was named the 2006 Australia Basketball Player of the Year and named the National Sportsperson of the Year by the NAIDOC.
In November 2006, Mills signed to play college basketball for Saint Mary's College of California beginning in the 2007–08 season. He joined fellow Australians Lucas Walker and Carlin Hughes on the Gaels for the 2007–08 season.
Mills was named the WCC Newcomer of the Year and earned All-WCC First Team honours after helping the Gaels earn a top 25 ranking for the first time since the 1988–89 season. He started all 32 games for the Gaels as a freshman, posting a team-high 14.8 points, 2.1 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.8 steals in 32.1 minutes. He set a Saint Mary’s freshman record for points in a season with 472, and set the school freshman mark for points in a game with a 37-point performance against Oregon on 20 November 2007. He was also a three-time WCC Player of the Week honouree (Nov. 16, Dec. 24 and Feb. 19).
As a sophomore in 2008–09, Mills averaged 18.4 points, 3.9 assists, 2.4 rebounds and 2.2 steals in 32.1 minutes and was named WCC Player of the Week twice (Nov. 24 and Dec. 8). He was subsequently named All-WCC First Team for a second straight year.
After declaring for the 2009 NBA draft, Mills went about proving his worth. He had workouts with the Golden State Warriors, Minnesota Timberwolves, Detroit Pistons, Dallas Mavericks and New Orleans Hornets, and also went to the Reebok Eurocamp in Treviso, Italy, earning solid reviews. In the weeks leading up to the draft however, his stock appeared to drop on several mock draft websites. On 25 June 2009, Mills was selected with the 55th overall pick by the Portland Trail Blazers, becoming the first Saint Mary's player since 1983 to be drafted, and was the highest pick since 1961.
On 9 July 2009, Mills fractured the fifth metatarsal in his right foot during practice and was subsequently ruled out of the NBA Summer League. On 16 October 2009, he signed a contract with the Trail Blazers. After completing rehabilitation, Mills was assigned to the Idaho Stampede of the NBA Development League on 29 December 2009. In his debut with Idaho on 1 January 2010, he scored 38 points off the bench in a 123–109 win over the Reno Bighorns. He finished 7-of-10 from behind the arc, while also chipping in 12 assists. Two days later, also against Reno, Mills scored 22 points and made the game-winning basket in a 109–108 victory. On 4 January 2010, he was recalled by the Trail Blazers. In his NBA debut that night, Mills recorded two assists in just under five minutes off the bench in Portland's 105–95 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers. He was reassigned to the Stampede in 13 January, before being recalled again on 23 January. Mills appeared in 10 games with the Trail Blazers during his rookie season, averaging 2.6 points in 3.8 minutes. He scored a season-high 11 points in Portland's regular-season finale on 14 April against the Golden State Warriors. He also appeared in three playoff games for the Trail Blazers.
In 2010–11, Mills played in 64 games for the Trail Blazers, averaging 5.5 points and 1.7 assists in 12.2 minutes. He scored in double figures 10 times and posted what was a career-best 23 points in Portland's regular-season finale on 13 April against Golden State. He also appeared in two playoff games for the Trail Blazers.
During the 2010–11 season, the "3 Goggles" trend became popular in the NBA, whereby players fit themselves with "A-OK" hand-gesture goggles after they make a three-point basket during a game. Mills and teammate Rudy Fernández are credited with having started the trend. Mills and his teammates would poke fun at Fernández's struggles from beyond the three-point line, indicating he couldn't see very well. So when Fernandez started sinking threes, they would make goggles with their hands over their eyes in tribute to his skill. From Fernández's perspective, when he started to heat up from downtown, he would put the goggles on to show Mills his vision was OK. T-shirts with the gesture were printed and popularly sold in Portland.
Due to the 2011 NBA lockout, Mills returned to Australia to play in the National Basketball League (NBL). On 29 August 2011, he signed with the Melbourne Tigers for the 2011–12 season, after reportedly turning down lucrative offers from a number of European teams. In the Tigers' season opener on 7 October 2011, Mills scored a game-high 28 points in an 82–76 win over the Sydney Kings. His NBL stint was short lived, as he was released by the Tigers on 20 November after he received an offer of about $1 million from Chinese team Xinjiang Flying Tigers. In nine games for Melbourne, he averaged 18.6 points, 2.3 rebounds and 5.0 assists per game.
On 4 January 2012, Mills was released by Xinjiang after being out for 10 days with a hamstring injury. With the NBA lockout ending on 8 December 2011, Mills wanted to return to the Portland Trail Blazers, but the Chinese Basketball Association couldn't guarantee he'd receive FIBA clearance until March. Reports later surfaced that Mills was sacked by Xinjiang for allegedly faking the hamstring injury. In 12 games for Xinjiang, he averaged 26.5 points, 3.8 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 2.3 steals per game.
On 27 March 2012, Mills signed with the San Antonio Spurs. For the third straight year, Mills faced the Golden State Warriors in the regular-season finale and set career highs. On 26 April 2012, Mills set career highs with 34 points and 12 assists for his first NBA double-double in a 107–101 win over the Warriors. Mills posted the highest single-game score by an Australian in the NBA, surpassing Andrew Bogut's 32 points in January 2010.
On 13 July 2012, Mills re-signed with the Spurs. In the Spurs' second last game of the regular season on 15 April 2013, Mills scored a season-high 23 points in a 116–106 loss to Golden State. The Spurs went on to reach the 2013 NBA Finals, where they lost in seven games to the Miami Heat. Mills missed the final four games of the NBA Finals with an abscess removal on his right foot.
On 24 June 2013, Mills exercised his player option to return to the Spurs for the 2013–14 season. During the offseason, Mills lost weight and dropped his body fat. On 8 February 2014, Mills scored a season-high 32 points off the bench in a 104–100 win over the Charlotte Bobcats, becoming the first Spurs reserve in franchise history to record 32+ points in 25 minutes or less. Ten days later, he tallied 25 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists and 1 block in 27 minutes against the Los Angeles Clippers, becoming the first Spurs reserve to record 25+ points, 5+ assists and 5+ rebounds in 27 minutes or less since Manu Ginóbili accomplished the feat in March 2008. Mills appeared in a team-high 81 games, including two starts, averaging 10.2 points, 2.1 rebounds and 1.8 assists in a career-high 18.9 minutes. He logged 1,527 minutes in 2013–14 after totaling 1,737 minutes in his previous four seasons combined. Mills helped the Spurs return to the NBA Finals in 2014, where they again faced the Miami Heat. In Game 5 of the NBA Finals, after going up 3–1 in the series, Mills helped the Spurs claim the championship after scoring 14 of his 17 points in the third quarter to help lift them to a 104–87 series-clinching win.
On 4 August 2017, Mills re-signed with the Spurs on a four-year, $50 million contract. On 4 December 2017, in a 96–93 win over the Detroit Pistons, Mills joined Manu Ginóbili and Matt Bonner as the only reserves in franchise history to make 500 3-pointers. On 18 December 2017, in a 109–91 win over the Los Angeles Clippers, Mills joined Ginóbili and Malik Rose as the only Spurs in franchise history to score 3,000 points off the bench. On 25 February 2018 against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Mills climbed into fourth all-time on the Spurs' 3-pointers made list.
|GP||Games played||GS||Games started||MPG||Minutes per game|
|FG%||Field goal percentage||3P%||3-point field goal percentage||FT%||Free throw percentage|
|RPG||Rebounds per game||APG||Assists per game||SPG||Steals per game|
|BPG||Blocks per game||PPG||Points per game||Bold||Career high|
|†||Denotes season in which Mills won an NBA Championship|
In 2007, Mills made his senior national team debut for the Boomers at the FIBA Oceania Championship. The following year, he played for Australia at the FIBA Diamond Ball tournament and represented his country at the Beijing Olympics, where he averaged 14.2 points per game.
Mills went on to play for Australia at the 2010 FIBA World Championship and 2011 FIBA Oceania Championship, before once again representing his country at the 2012 London Olympics. Mills had the highest scoring average with 21.2 points per game, ahead of Kevin Durant of the United States, who averaged 19.5 points per game.
In 2013, Mills played for Australia at the FIBA Oceania Championship. Two years later, he played at the 2015 FIBA Oceania Championship. In 2016, he helped the Boomers finish fourth at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
|Tournament||Points per game||Rebounds per game||Assists per game|
|2007 U19 World Cup||14.9||2.8||4.6|
|2007 FIBA Ociania||10.3||1.7||1.3|
|2008 FIBA Diamond Ball||5.3||0.7||0.3|
|2008 Olympic Games||14.2||2.2||2|
|2010 FIBA World Cup||13.8||1.7||4.2|
|2011 London Invitational||17||1.3||2|
|2011 FIBA Oceania||14.3||2.7||3.7|
|2012 Olympic Games||21.2||4.5||2.2|
|2013 FIBA Oceania||20.5||3.5||2|
|2015 FIBA Oceania||13||4.5||4|
|2016 Olympic Games||21.3||1.6||1.7|
Mills is the only child of Benny and Yvonne Mills. His uncle is former Olympian basketballer Danny Morseu. He is the cousin of rugby league player Edrick Lee and fellow basketball player Nathan Jawai.
Mills met long-time girlfriend Alyssa Levesque, who was also a college basketball player, while they were both attending Saint Mary's College of California.
In 2011, Mills started the charity project "Assist Australia" following Queensland's floods in March 2010 and in December 2010 to January 2011. His first charity work came in 2010, helping raise over $40,000 for the first flood relief.
Also, Mills and his girlfriend from college, Alyssa Levesque, who also played basketball at Saint Mary's, challenged each other to stay fit by incorporating the same healthy diet.