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Goorjian's 'Father Time' warning for Mills

Murray Wenzel -

Patty Mills' move to Miami may have saved the Boomers great's Olympic bacon, coach Brian Goorjian adamant he and fellow four-Games stalwart Joe Ingles are no walk-up starts for Paris.

Mills barely saw the court after a mad NBA off-season of team swaps resulted in the championship-winning shooting guard landing in Miami.

The Heat, beaten in last year's Finals series, picked up the 35-year-old and immediately injected the 15-year NBA veteran into the rotation.

He has played at least 10 minutes and as many as 25 in nine games since, adding 10 points in a win over Cleveland on Monday to push the Heat to 39-32 and seventh in the east.

The Orlando Magic (42-29) are fifth, 36-year-old Ingles averaging 17 minutes per game off the bench in a steadying role after being recruited from Milwaukee on a two-year deal by coach Jamahl Mosley.

Mills scored 42 points in a win over Slovenia as Australia's men clinched a historic first Olympic bronze medal at Tokyo's delayed 2021 Games.

But Goorjian, who had already tried to regenerate the side by omitting fellow core members Matthew Dellavedova and Aron Baynes from last year's World Cup squad, said the pair needed to prove themselves to be there again in Paris.

And he hinted their savvy NBA moves had been critical.

"Correct; there's a time frame on it and it's nearing that," the coach told AAP.

"The World Cup, we have to move forward from that. Take steps. There were some tough decisions last time and some things under the microscope again.

"I'm happy Patty's at Miami; that'll help him as opposed to no minutes.

"But those guys in the NBA aren't dominant, they're just pieces.

"When you bring it in with 18, 19 guys playing in Asia and the NBL (to selection camp) it's going to be really competitive.

"Guys like Patty and Joe, the reality is Father Time's approaching and there's going to be a battle there."

Ingles' role changed at the World Cup when centre Jock Landale was a late scratching due to injury, forcing him to defend closer to the rim, take less shots and limit his play-making.

But Goorjian said he would revert to a more familiar role, conveniently similar to what Mosley has asked of him in Orlando.

"I brought Jamahl to Australia (for the Victorian Titans in 2001). I've known him a long time and I know the picture he had for Joe at the Magic," he said.

"It's gut-wrenching, but you've got to move guys at the right time or you're not doing your job.

"But his role at the Magic is the exact role he'd have at the Boomers.

"It's all about winning and he's that piece that comes in, settles the second group down or the first down the stretch.

"So when he went in to the Magic, could he hold that? He's doing that right now and it's a positive for the Boomers."

Australia face a mammoth task to even progress to the quarter-finals when competition starts in Lille in July, drawn in a pool with an NBA-stacked Canada and potentially Spain, Greece or Slovenia.

The Boomers will gather in Melbourne for a farewell series and selection camp before playing more pre-Olympic games in Europe ahead of the Games.

Murray Wenzel - AAP


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