As one of the NBA's great importers, Gregg Popovich is well aware of the threats Australia pose as he prepares to visit the country for the first time.
The five-time NBA title-winning coach will lead the United States into China's World Cup from August 31, but not before a double-header against the Boomers in Melbourne.
"He's a pain in the neck you know; trying to intimidate me, making fun of me, telling me how they're going to kick our butt," Popovich mused of Mills.
"I don't know about that (whether I'll enjoy playing against him), he's going to try to beat us, right?
"He's a brilliant player and wonderful human being in our program and been that important to the national team in Australia.
"He's one of those special people that all of us fall in love with."
Popovich secured the Boomers guard in 2012 after an initial three-year stint in Portland, while hulking Australian centre Aron Baynes was in the infancy of his NBA career when the pair won a title with the Spurs in 2014.
Popovich will trim his squad down to 12 to visit Australia for games against the Boomers and Canada, with James Harden, Anthony Davis, Damian Lillard, Kyle Lowry and Donovan Mitchell among the American stars named in the initial 20-man squad on Tuesday.
He hopes they adopt a little bit of the Australian way though, against a Boomers side he says will be a "major factor" in China.
"I'm so impressed in our transparency ... it's like every Australian plays the way that, as a coach, you'd love to see every player play," he said of coaching Australians.
"They're in love with the game, in love with each other and they do it for the right reasons.
"That's what makes them such a tough opponent."
He said All-Star Ben Simmons' addition to the side would only add "impetus" to their charge for a maiden international medal.
"It's fantastic that he's playing ... the better the competition the better the games, the more important each one becomes and the more you value winning," Popovich said.
"To have Ben there is a huge addition of talent, obviously, and shows how importantly he and all his mates feel about this and how they want to be successful and come together."