Tokyo 2020 Olympic bronze medallist and Boomers captain Patty Mills has signed a two year, $12 million deal with the Brooklyn Nets.
While the deal was first reported by Adrian Wojnarowski on August 4, the deal was not made official until August 10 in the US, with the Nets announcing the deal.
Mills is fresh off a superb Olympics campaign where he led the Boomers to their first medal Olympic medal, defeating Serbia 107-93 to claim Bronze.
Mills was recognised for his outstanding performance, named in the All-star Five having averaged 23.3 points a game for the tournament.
With Mills entering free agency this offseason, his play in the Olympics caught the attention of multiple NBA teams who were looking to add scoring punch and a veteran presence to their locker room.
Mills has spent the past 10 seasons at the San Antonio Spurs where he comes off the bench, providing scoring and elite ball handling.
During his time in San Antonio, Mills averaged 9.4 points and shot 39% on three-point attempts, which culminated in winning the NBA Championship with the Spurs in 2014.
While at the Spurs, Mills has been the consummate professional and a great teammate, becoming one of the team leaders over the past few seasons and helping mentor the Spurs young guards coming through.
His involvement within the San Antonio community and constant charitable work has made him a fan favourite.
Long-time Spurs coach Gregg Popovich has always been complimentary and praised the type of person Mills is.
“We’ve talked before about what a wonderful human being he is,” Popovich said, via The New York Post.
“He’s a really unique player. And he has been special for the Spurs, but he’s moving on to Brooklyn now, and we’ll miss him a great deal. It’s a good move for him, playing for a team that’s going to be a contender.”
Mills fit in Brooklyn
After an injury interrupted playoff run which saw Brooklyn fall just short in a seven-game series to eventual champions the Milwaukee Bucks, the team will be looking to make another run at the title.
Both Kyrie Irving and James Harden missed time throughout the post-season, and the lack of bench depth and other scorers led to the Nets eventually exit.
However, with the additions made this offseason which include Mills, Deandre Bembry, James Johnson and Jevon Carter, with added depth to the squad the Nets are currently the favourites to win the 2021/22 NBA title.
Mills will most likely play a sixth-man role on the Nets, where he will take carry an offensive load and serve as another ball handler, giving Harden, Irving and Durant time to rest and play off-ball.
His ability to create his own shot will be a massive asset. Last season, the Nets had to rely on Harden, Irving and Durant to create for the rest of the team.
To add to this, Mills is one of the premier bench scores in the league and lethal from deep, scoring 161 three-pointers last season, his fourth consecutive season scoring 150-plus threes.
San Antonio ranked last in three-pointers attempted per game last season, while Brooklyn ranked 12th. Mills will get more three-point opportunities next season and better looks with the elite passing ability of his new teammates.
Brooklyn’s all-star trio draw so much attention themselves that it will leave players like Mills wide open behind the arc or able to cut in for easy baskets.
Mills should get plenty of catch and shot threes and shots coming off screens.
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Joe Harris benefitted from this greatly last season, shooting 50% on field goal attempts and 47.5% from three. Bruce Brown also improved his scoring considerably, going from 44% in 2019-20 to 55% last season in Brooklyn.
With Irving’s injury history, Mills could see himself promoted into the starting line-up if Irving goes down again. Over the past three seasons, Irving has played 141 of a possible 226 games and in all likelihood will miss more time this upcoming season.
In a starting role, Mills will be given more minutes and more opportunities to create and even showcase his playmaking skills that we’ve seen at International level, but not as frequently in the NBA.
In the playoffs when the rotation is shortened, Mills should still be given good minutes off the bench as the skills and attributes he provides to the team will be too valuable to leave wasting away on the bench.
With playoff basketball being played in the half-court, Mills is well suited to this style of play due to his ability to lose his man off screens and space the floor.
The only question surrounding Mills will be what type of line-ups he will feature in. It would be unlikely he gets playing time with all three of Brooklyn’s superstars due to the defensive liabilities that may present.
Mills will most likely only play with two of the big three at a time, however his strong offensive game and veteran experience should add to a team looking to win a championship this season.
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