By Eurohoops team/ [email protected]
Patty Mills exited the San Antonio Spurs after nine years to join the Brooklyn Nets the summer. It was almost the exact moment when his Australian Boomers teammate Jock Landale moved to San Antonio by signing his first NBA contract.
When asked about which Australia players impressed him during the Tokyo Olympics and the run towards a first-ever Olympic medal, Mills mentioned Landale specifically and how
“I was really impressed with Jock Landale,” Mills said during a remote presser by the Nets. “I’ve always thought that he’s been deserving to be in the NBA for a few years now. To be able to see him get his opportunity, obviously in San Antonio, is something that I was incredibly happy and proud of him. It’s thoroughly deserved. He’s obviously in a good situation there.”
Landale averaged 12.8 points, 4.7 rebounds and 2.2 assists in Tokyo to help Australia win the bronze medal. He and the rest of the Boomers prevailed against Luka Doncic’s Slovenia in the third-place game, behind Mills’ 42 points.
It was a peculiar situation for Mills to have one foot on the free agency and his future team and the other on Tokyo and the Olympic medal goal.
“How can you prepare for something like this?” Mills said. “You’ve been in a place for ten years. Now you’re head is buried in an Olympic campaign and you’re so proud about representing your country and trying to get this elusive medal that Australia has never got before. And in the next minute, free agency is in the middle of all that. You can probably understand the extraordinary circumstances. For me, being able to prepare for a lot of things is something that I take a lot of pride in. It was was one of those things… how can I prepare for all these before I enter the national team realm.”
“It was hard for me to know that I couldn’t have these conversations that I usually would in a normal world,” Mills added. “And it’s not that no one didn’t understand where my head was, it was more about myself. The one person I was able to talk to was Pop [Gregg Popovich]. And obviously everything he’s ever done for me over my career, on the court and especially off the court… being able to do that was special and that was really the only conversation I was able to have.”
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