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Popovich explains why Patty Mills' stats have dipped

San Antonio Spurs' Patty Mills (8), of Australia, guards Chicago Bulls' Bobby Portis during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Darren Abate)

What most fans don’t understand is the impact a player has on a basketball game outside of the statistical categories such as points per game average or true field goal percentage.

It is the intangibles like leadership, grit and instinct that separates an average NBA player from a successful one. The job not only consists of putting up certain numbers for your team, but it is your duty to align the organization’s culture to that of yourself and to spread that on to your teammates.

Patty Mills of the San Antonio Spurs is following that route for the benefit of his team.

Though he’s taken a dip in almost all major statistical categories thus far through the 2017-2018 campaign compared to last year, there is absolutely no reason for Spurs fans to fret.

After all, if anybody can get die-hard silver and black supporters to relax, it’s the assurance of Head Coach Gregg Popovich that will put the chatter to a screeching halt.

Via ESPN:

"It's been tough for him because I've been playing him at the point guard position, at the wing, at the two-guard ... he's been all over the place trying to help us any way he could, so it hurts his numbers a little bit," Popovich has said.
"His leadership [though] is better than ever. His ability to see what's going on on the floor, to understand time and score in a game, is better than it's ever been."

Hearing those encouraging words from your fearless leader is not only a sigh of relief for the organization and fan base, but more importantly it can help ease Mills’ mind to not become too concerned with his statistical outputs when the ultimate goal is to win an NBA Championship.

The Aussie point guard may finally be catching his groove back against an up-and-coming Philadelphia 76ers team, scoring a season-high 26 points in a hard fought loss for San Antonio.

This season, the Spurs guard is averaging 9.7 points, off 42% field goal and 39% from the 3-point line in 24.6 minutes per game this season.

This may just be the start of things to come in the New Year for Patty and if I’m a Spurs fan I’ll rest easy at night knowing that there’s an emerging leader in our locker room; the shot will come eventually.

Twitter: @DerekMachen

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