There’s a nice, happy headline from ESPN.com: Portland Blazers draft pick Patty Mills to miss summer league after breaking foot.
After watching Mills play better than any other Boomer in the Olympics (including the always-underwhelming Andrew Bogut), including a 20-point performance against Team USA that caused Kobe Bryant and Mike Krzyzewski to shower the young Aboriginal point guard with as much praise as I’ve ever seen either man give anyone not named Shannon Brown or “Wojo,” Mills looked like he could the Australian Tony Parker. With a little luck, anyway.
Unfortunately for Mills, positively awful luck has been the theme since Beijing.
He started off great, leading Saint Mary’s to an 18-1 record. Then he broke his hand in Gonzaga just before halftime (do they not drink milk in Australia?), after making 6-of-8 threes in the first half to give the Gaels a 39-33 lead they would soon relinquish. Since then, the little guy has seemingly been cursed.
St. Mary’s missed the NCAA Tournament, in part because Mills came back too soon from injury and wasn’t able to prevent Gonzaga from routing the Gaels in the WCC Tournament Final. After a mediocre NIT, Mills entered the draft as a potential first round candidate.
Unfortunately, the draft was full of larger, more celebrated point guards than Mills, and Patty fell to Portland at No. 55. Portland’s roster isn’t exactly wanting for talented NBA-quality players, so the only chance Mills really had to make the team was if he dominated the summer league to he point where he could be seen as a potential replacement for Sergio Rodriguez as the primary backup to Steve Blake (although it was doubtful he would have made it ahead of Jerryd Bayless on the depth chart, even if he never broke the fifth metatarsal on his foot…in his first practice with the team, no less).
Now, instead of lightning quick Aussie superstar, Mills looks like a fragile, undersized not-quite-PG who can’t shoot that well. His best chances to further his career probably lie overseas, as long as he can keep his bones from snapping like peanut brittle.
And to think, he could have been a top-5 PG in college had he stayed in Moraga, where his injury would have been an inconvenience, not a deal-breaker. Kids, stay in school.