The NBA is on the verge of returning and all the talk surrounding the Brooklyn Nets has centered on Kyrie Irving, who’s status for home games this season is still uncertain amid his hesitancy to get vaccinated.
While Kevin Durant feels that this prevailing controversy will sort itself out, fellow superstar James Harden decided to take a more proactive approach by stating his desire to play alongside Irving. That’s about as close as Harden could get to calling for Irving to get vaccinated without actually saying it.
It goes without saying it might be time for the Nets to start preparing for life without Irving for half of their schedule. It’s unclear who would take his place in the starting lineup, but you have to think Patty Mills would be first in line.
It’s not the scenario Nets fans envisioned entering the offseason, but Mills has plenty of experience and is desperate to compete for a championship.
After all, that’s why he decided to sign with Brooklyn.
Fans will love Patty Mills explaining why he signed with the Nets.
"“I wanted to play a piece and role in winning a championship — The conversation with Kevin (Durant) was purely about basketball and about the game,” Mills told the media this week. “I think I just got so excited to be able to have the opportunity to learn from his perspective and how he sees the game and how he approaches the game.“Something very intriguing for me. It’s like any chance I have to learn and to continue to develop and grow, I welcome that. So in terms of piecing the puzzle together, it’s gonna be exactly that. Working out what fits and being able to bring the pieces together.”"
Spoken like a true veteran. If he wasn’t already, something tells us Mills will become an instant fan favorite once the regular season gets underway. And if Irving is forced to sit out home games, Mills will only grow in popularity.
Outside of Kawhi Leonard and Chris Paul, the 33-year-old Mills was one of the most coveted players in free agency this offseason. The importance of rostering a viable backup PG can’t be understated and Mills is as good as they come in that regard. He started three games in his final three years in San Antonio, but was arguably the Spurs’ most important player during that stretch.
Over the last five years, Mills has been the definition of consistent, posting a respectable 10.3 points per game, while shooting a clean 42% from the field and 38% on threes. That’ll suffice on an offense that’s highlighted by stars like Durant, Harden, Irving, LaMarcus Aldridge, Paul Millsap, Joe Harris and Blake Griffin.
Durant and Harden (and Irving, when he plays) are the undisputed horses and de facto leaders of this team. However, with Kyrie slated to miss a chunk of the schedule, Mills could emerge as a real X-factor for Brooklyn.
We can’t wait to see how he gels with this loaded roster.