Film Session: How Patty Mills Dropped 30 on Team USA

On Wednesday night Team USA faced their toughest Olympic opponent yet in a scrappy Australian team. Some may be surprised by how well the Aussies competed, but the Boomers weren’t. Andrew Bogut said in an interview with ESPN that the objective was to play hard and win.

“If we go out there and we’re intimidated by them and try and get our shoes signed before the game and a signed jersey, we’re in the wrong mindset.”

Patty Mills is on record saying he and his teammates believe they can beat Team USA. Mills did everything in his power to make that a reality, scoring at will in a hyper-efficient performance where he displayed excellent scoring skills and instincts. He dropped 30 points on 11/22 shooting (5/11 from 3) and played at a high level for nearly the entire game. What makes the feat more impressive is the laundry list of world class NBA defenders Patty beat, like Klay Thompson, Paul George, and DeAndre Jordan. Here’s how he did it.

Australia has some recognizable NBA talent in Mills, Matt Dellavedova, Aron Baynes, and Andrew Bogut. Starting at shooting guard, Patty is the team’s number 1 scoring option. He seems to have been taking notes on a certain former Warriors teammate of Andrew Bogut. Patty Mills is not Steph Curry, but he’s running the Steph playbook in a similar role for the Boomers and it’s working. He scored 27 points from the field using 9 total dribbles in a ridiculously efficient scoring performance against excellent defenders.

Patty Mills is 6 feet tall, but what he lacks in height he makes up for in speed. One of the fastest players in the NBA last year, Mills uses quick movements with and without the ball to create shots for himself. The vast majority of his makes came on open looks created with quickness: in transition, on a backdoor cut, or on a tight turn around a screen toward the basket or 3 point line.

There were a handful of instances where a loose ball came to Patty and he instantly started a fast break. Here he grabs the ball, takes three quick dribbles to the three-point arc and rains a transition three.

Mills’ excelled in transition, but he was also very effective in the half court, running off of screens in an offense designed to give him a good scoring opportunity. Here, Paul George falls asleep watching Aron Baynes in the post, and Patty makes a beeline for the spot on the 3 point line directly behind Andrew Bogut. The pass from Baynes is on time and right in Mills’ shooting pocket. Patty hops into the warm-up jumper and knocks it down.

Klay Thompson used to be the beneficiary of questionable picks by Andrew Bogut, but he became a victim on Wednesday night. The screen may move a bit, but watch how sharply Patty explodes out of his cut towards the hoop. Boogie Cousins inexplicably abandons his help on the cutting Mills to close out on Bogut, but it’s still a great cut and finish by Patty.

Here’s another example of Mills in transition. He doesn’t start the break, but he gets out on the wing and trails the play. Kyle Lowry had been defending him, but Lowry gave up on the play after the turnover. When nobody pick up Mills trailing the play, he made another textbook hop into a 3 pointer.

Once again, Paul George gets caught ball watching while Patty Mills runs to his spot and hops into another uncontested 3 point attempt. George gets hung up on another Bogut screen that may be moving, but Patty again moved quickly without the ball to get a 3 pointer.

Mills was also pretty quick with the ball in his hands, dribbling to space for a shot that seems to always be in rhythm. Paul George vacates the left wing to close out on Patty, who sheds him with one quick dribble to the left. He then takes one dribble towards the basket and throws a floater up over Boogie Cousins’ outstretched arm.

Here’s Mills moving off the ball and hopping into yet another catch and shoot 3. Watch how he doesn’t wait for a screen to come, the cut and pick happen at the same time to create a small window for Mills, and he takes advantage.

Here, Kyle Lowry manages to fight over a Bogut screen to pursue Mills. Bogut immediately re-screens and Patty cuts back toward the basket, where he is hit in stride with a bounce pass that gets DeAndre Jordan leaning forward. Patty protects the ball with his body, lunging past DJ and scooping the layup in off the glass.

Bogut does a lot to earn the assist on this play, setting a ball screen that Klay Thompson manages to get over. Bogut holds the ball, pivots, and hits Patty Mills with a pocket bounce pass when he comes around the screen sharply. Mills doesn’t need to dribble and releases his shot quickly while Aron Baynes was boxing out DeAndre Jordan.

Patty wasn’t afraid to attack the elite defenders on Team USA. Here, he drives on the left wing in a pick and roll with Baynes, loses Klay Thompson on the screen and attacks the baseline against DeAndre Jordan. A foot shorter than his defender, he makes 4 quick dribbles with his off hand, turns the corner on DJ and puts up a nice reverse lay in.

Team USA was able to hold off the Boomers at the end of this group stage game, but Patty and his teammates fought to the end. Patty finished the game with 30 points and no assists in what was a truly special scoring performance.

Don’t expect Patty Mills to drop 30 for the Spurs this season. He doesn’t play that kind of role in San Antonio. What we saw on Wednesday evening was a perfect storm of bad defense by Team USA and great ball and player movement by an Australian offense centered around creating open shots for Mills. Patty’s efficient scoring was part of a game where the Boomers competed throughout despite their opponents having the 12 best players in the gym. The Aussies should be full of confidence if they meet Team USA in the medal round.

Tom Petrini

About Tom Petrini

Tom is a marketing student at Northeastern University who writes for Project Spurs and contributes on social media. He likes extra passes, Whataburger, and Boban Marjanovic. You should follow him on Twitter @RealTomPetrini

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