When Patty Mills spoke to the media day on Monday he talked about wanting to be the guy that brought the team together and helps to build the Camaraderie amongst the players in the locker room.
After the chaotic offseason that engulfed the Nets, that role has never seemed more important for a team than it does in Brooklyn. The Nets returned to Sunset Park earlier this week still with the expectation that the team could win an NBA title this year, but with plenty of naysayers as well who viewed the offseason drama as something that would be hard to overcome.
But Mills has set out to be that glue guy to change the feel inside the locker room this season and help the Nets to their ultimate goal.
“It’s the foundation of all successful championship-winning teams,” Mills said about forging those bonds in the locker room. “The things that you can create off the court just helps with all the trust on the floor. I think the more that we can do that stuff, we had a great team meal last night where everyone was there. The first few days here have been night and day different feeling than what we’ve had. I believe in all of that stuff, the amount of things that we can go through off the court, we can build that chemistry and build that Camaraderie will only on court.”
Mills became a fundamental part of the Nets offense last season after Joe Harris suffered what turned out to be a season-ending injury in November. The Aussie became Brooklyn’s lone sharpshooter while Haris was out and until the Nets acquired Seth Curry as part of the Ben Simmons-James Harden swap with Philadelphia.
Mills shot 40.8% from the field last season and 40% from three-point range last season, while setting a new career high in three-pointers with 227. The guard had slowed down a bit in the second half of the season as the extensive use seemed to get to him.
The 34-year-old NBA vet’s biggest asset for the Nets when they brought him to Brooklyn had been the leadership quality that he has. His desire to go out and be the bridge that brings the team together highlighted that.
“It’s really important to really pay attention to the framework of the team which is everybody,” Kyrie Irving said after practice. “Everyone has a role, we all spend time away from our families, so everyone should be included in our success and that’s what I believe Patty holds within our team. He’s a successful piece, he knows what it takes to be in an organization, he knows what it’s like to build trust and also do it at the highest level.
“Him humanizing it and saying you need a guy like him, he’s absolutely right. You need a guy like Patty Mills just simply to have the locker room synergized, but also can give you quality minutes and quality play and think out there for the guys. As well as give us some veteran leadership.”
Mills has been a player that has fit in just about everywhere he has played from Australia to over a decade in San Antonio with the Spurs. Mills said that he has always been the type of person that has enjoyed being around his teammates and getting the chance to know them better.
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It was also something that he saw really highlighted with the Spurs, who he won an NBA title with in 2014.
“It’s trying to get to be the last team standing, right, and it’s trying to do everything possible to do that,” Mills said. “It starts with those relationships in the locker room for sure.”