Last season, the Brooklyn Nets were missing something. Sure, they had the superstars, 3 of them to be exact, but depth was not a strong suit. Once Kyrie Irving went down in the playoffs, the Nets were quickly made aware that they did not have enough pieces to even somewhat replace Irving. Going into this offseason, finding an adequate backup guard was a priority. Someone who could create his own shot and handle the offense while Irving sat. And Sean Marks did just that when he signed NBA champ Patty Mills to a 2 year $16 million deal.
What Patty Mills Brings
Patty Mills is one of the savviest veterans this league has to offer. He has come off the bench his entire career so knows that role better than anyone. Mills is a more than capable 3 point shooter, as he shot 37% from behind the arc last season. And after spending 10 years in the league with the San Antonio Spurs, Mills knows what it takes to play team basketball. There won’t be any selfishness coming from him. When asked why he chose the Nets in free agency, Mills said “the culture of the city I think was something that was very attractive to me – I’m a culture guy.” Clearly, Mills knows a good culture when he sees one, and he will only help the team chemistry and morale.
Will Mills be Enough?
Before Mills, the Nets had the beloved Spencer Dinwiddie who came off the bench. Dinwiddie was one of the best sixth men in the league. But Dinwiddie left for the Wizards this offseason and was also hurt all season. In his absence, the Nets relied on Tyler Johnson, Mike James, Chris Chiozza, and Bruce Brown as backup guards. Brown was the only one who was able to provide consistent minutes, but Brown is not known for his offensive play. Consequently, the Nets struggled with their bench minutes, not being able to rely on anyone to run the offense while Irving and James Harden sat. Mills will hopefully be able to step in and fill that void. With Johnson, James, and Chiozza gone, Mills will have the keys to the bench unit. And to help him, Mills will have rookie Cam Thomas and Bruce Brown join him as the backup guards.
No one is asking Mills to come in and score 25 points every night. But the great thing about Patty Mills is that he could drop 25 on any given night if needed. When the Nets are healthy, Mills will likely only see 15-20 minutes per game. And as long as he provides solid offense and creates for others, that will be fine. But if Irving or Harden are taking the night off, it can be fully expected that Mills plays 30+ minutes and scores 20 or more points. We know he is capable of that. We’ve seen it when he’s had to step up with the Spurs and even with the Australian National team. Flexibility is the biggest thing Patty Mills is bringing to the Nets, and we Nets fans look forward to a great season with him.