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June 1, 2009
Mills mulls NBA decision

OAKLAND - Patrick Mills referred to himself as a "young" point guard that wanted to prove he knew how to run a team shortly after a workout in front of 21 NBA teams Monday afternoon at the Golden State Warriors practice facility.

Mills, who turns 21 in August, however has a couple of years on a some of the other top point guards in this year's draft class.

Spain's Ricky Rubio is 18. Other point guards such as Jrue Holiday and Brandon Jennings are just one year removed from graduating high school.

Mills played two seasons at St. Mary's College in Moraga before declaring for the draft without hiring an agent.

But he sounds like a player that has no intention of withdrawing his name from the draft.

"In my head I'm one hundred percent in," Mills said. "There's an opportunity there and I want to make sure I grab it by both horns and go for it. There's always that backup plan but in my head, certainly, there's not that backup plan."

Should the Kings pass on a point guard with the fourth overall pick, Mills could be an ideal fit at No. 23 or No. 31.

Mills hasn't spoken with the Kings, but the team is familiar with the speedy point guard.

Mills is from Australia and played on his country's Olympic team last summer. "Patty" didn't start for Australia but led the team with 14.2 points per game.

He played some of his best basketball against NBA players. He scored 20 points with three assists, two steals and no turnovers against the United States in a quarterfinals loss. Mills had 22 points against Argentina, which had five NBA players.

Mills calls the Olympics the "highlight" of his young career and said the experience made putting his name into the draft an easy one.

And the scar on Mills' right hand is another reason not to risk a return to college.

Mills missed time with a broken hand last season. While he was out, he had the opportunity to speak with Kobe Bryant at a Warriors game. Mills received more affirmation that he could play in the NBA from that conversation.

"I still act like a small kind, you know?" Mills said of speaking with Bryant. "I get that excited. ... Him saying I have the ability to play at the next level gives me that much more confidence."

As Sam Amick pointed in Sunday's Bee, Mills does come with some questions about his shooting and turnovers.

But Mills (6-0, 185) has shown he has the kind of speed to push the temp offensively. And in a conference with players such as Chris Paul, Tony Parker and Aaron Brooks leading teams, speed at point guard is at a premium.

Mills averaged 18.4 points and 3.8 assists as a sophomore. He shot only 40.2 percent from the field and made 33.8 percent of his threes.

Mills is confident enough in his ability that he's not seeking the first-round guarantee many prospects without agents want to stay in the draft.

He's looking for positive feedback and said he'd go back to St. Mary's if NBA teams told him he wasn't ready to contribute.

Mills believes he's mature enough already based on his play in the Olympics.

"Summer campaign I was only 19 at the time, running a team that was in their mid 30s," Mills said. "I see myself in a similar position if I get in the league this year. Something I'm familiar with."

Mills has workouts scheduled with Detroit, Milwaukee and Atlanta. And he'll head fly to Italy Wednesday for a European camp for draft prospects.

Check back tomorrow with more on prospects working out in Oakland.

--Jason Jones



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