When the Brooklyn Nets sent Spencer Dinwiddie to the Washington Wizards in a sign-and-trade during the offseason, they couldn’t have imagined what would happen next. The Nets have four games under their belt and point guard Kyrie Irving hasn’t played a single second of basketball.
Do the Nets now wish they were able to keep Dinwiddie even with Patty Mills lighting it up?
At least in Monday night’s 104-90 win over Washington, Brooklyn had the upper hand over Dinwiddie’s new team. Dinwiddie finished with 10 points on 3-of-13 shooting, along with five rebounds and six assists. He didn’t have his best game, but that’s because Bruce Brown was back in the starting lineup and held both Dinwiddie and Bradley Beal to a combined 29 points.
The truth is that the Nets would be hurting for Dinwiddie back in the rotation if it wasn’t for Mills. Brooklyn signed the point guard shortly after his Olympic run with the Australian basketball team in Tokyo over the summer. The 6-foot-1 Mills has come off of the bench in all four of the Nets’ regular season games and has been phenomenal.
The Nets signing Patty Mills makes losing Spencer Dinwiddie more manageable.
In the first four games of the year, Mills has averaged 14.5 points, 2.5 rebounds and 2.3 assists. In last week’s season-opener against the Milwaukee Bucks, Mills went 7-for-7 from behind the three-point line. Going perfect from downtown, along with his 21 points, wasn’t a bad way to start things off with his new team.
As if knocking down all seven of his three-point attempts against the Bucks wasn’t enough, Mills went 3-for-3 from behind the arc in a 114-109 win over the Philadelphia Sixers last Friday to finish with 11 points. On Sunday against the Charlotte Hornets, Mills finally game back down to earth and went 1-for-6 from three for five points.
Nonetheless, his offensive production has been exceptional so far. He scored 21 points in Monday’s win over the Wizards and has only failed to score in double figures in one game so far this season. That’s not too hard to believe, considering that he’s averaged at least 10 points in every year that he’s been in the NBA with the exception of his rookie season in 2009.
Prior to the start of the regular season, it may have looked like losing Dinwiddie in the offseason was going to leave a huge void behind. We’re not saying that Brooklyn couldn’t use his playmaking ability, but Mills has proven that he’s up to the challenge of being a force for the Nets in Irving’s absence.
Brooklyn is down an All-Star with Irving not being able to play or practice with the team. That’s obviously going to be an adjustment regardless of what other names are on the roster. James Harden has struggled so far this year, but if he’s able to get into a groove by finding a way to get to the free throw line, Irving not being in the lineup will become a little less detrimental.
Due to an ACL injury, Dinwiddie played in three games for the Nets last year. If he can stay healthy, he’s great. Brooklyn wasn’t able to give him the money that he wanted over the offseason, so he moved on. It’s hard to believe that Mills will be able to perform at this high of a level for the remaining 78 games on the regular season schedule, but he’s eased a lot of worries so far, and right now parting with Dinwiddie hasn’t really hurt the team much.