Mills embraces Australia's medal challenge


Point guard Patty Mills says Australia know the size of the task before them as they attempt to win a men's Olympic basketball medal for the first time.

The Boomers begin their campaign with a match against France in Rio on Saturday.

Serbia, China and Venezuela are among their other Group A opponents, but none are as daunting as the United States, who they face next in their third game.

Addressing the media in Brazil, San Antonio Spurs star Mills acknowledged it will not be easy for Australia, despite the team boasting the likes of fellow NBA regulars Andrew Bogut and Matthew Dellavedova in their ranks.

"We know what it takes to achieve something we haven't done before," he said.

"We established this goal for us a long time ago and it's a high goal but we all believe in it.

"If you don't believe there is no point in being here. We have a really tight-knit group that believes in us and [wants] to try and accomplish something we've never done before."

The star-studded United States team have opted to stay on a luxury cruise liner during their time in Rio, but Mills rejected the suggestion Australia's basketball players would rather not reside in the athletes' village, which has come under criticism over its lack of readiness.

"No mate, I'd much prefer to cuddle with my team-mates," he said when asked about the disparity in accommodation standards.

"We all grew up together playing basketball at the AIS (Australian Institute of Sport) and ... so we're all a tight bunch of guys."

Mills welcomed the return of Bogut from a knee injury, while offering a reminder the Dallas Mavericks center is yet to reach full fitness.

"He's not going to be 100 per cent, nor was he going into the game as well," he said.

"Just the presence, having him out on the floor in his jersey is great for us.

"We knew it was going to be a hard road for him but we also knew how passionate he was to play for Australia, to play with this group, and how committed he was to us."