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Olympic Commentary: Patty Mills

by Bob MacKinnon


Welcome to PCA’s 2016 Olympic Commentary. We are providing frequent updates throughout the Rio Games, including views on current events through a PCA lens and resources from within featuring Olympians and their coaches, sports psychologists and others who are instrumental in helping them develop into Better Athletes, Better People.

In men’s basketball, the U.S. has dominated headlines, and, for most of the tournament, the action on-court. One exception has been the show put on by Patty Mills, the tournament’s second-leading scorer, whose 24 points today led Australia to the semi-finals.

Earlier, in pool play against the U.S., he led Australia to a fourth-quarter advantage before the U.S. came back for the win. In that game, his 30 electrifying points were reminiscent of my time coaching Patty for the NBA Development League’s Idaho Stampede.

Typically for him, he has responded wonderfully in work with the media, exulting  his teammates, and talking team first.  He always deflects praise, saying how fortunate he is to play with such great players.

The fact is he helps make them great. For example, he is an efficient scorer. In the game against the U.S., he needed just nine dribbles on his 11 made shots.  Therefore, he doesn't dominate the ball the way some scorers do, so his teammates move without the ball, confident they will be involved in the scoring, and thus putting themselves in better rebounding position, too.

We have a saying, "When the ball sticks, the game stinks." With Patty, the ball moves!

On the Stampede, he got everyone involved, and made everyone on the team, from the first guy to the last, feel indispensable. He was always willing to share the ball, yet knew when he had to make plays that would put us in positon to win. Humble but a fierce competitor, Patty is a great example of what the Olympic spirit and PCA spirit are all about.

Click here to see our past Olympic Commentary from Kristine Lilly, Sport Psychology Consultant Robert Andrews, Katie Ledecky's Athletic Director, and Maya Dirado's backstory from PCA Trainer Will Jackson.

Bob MacKinnon is now head coach of the D-League’s Texas Legends and leads workshops as a PCA Trainer.

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