Patty Mills likes to have fun. Ask Tim Capstraw...
Along with some serious discussion about his new team and new teammates, his Olympic experience, etc., Mills was ready at a moment’s notice to lurch forward and show his personality, playful as it is. Take his reaction to a question about playing with LaMarcus Aldridge now that LA is back in the NBA.
The Nets are the third team he and Aldridge have played for following stints with the Trailblazers and Spurs. “I can’t get rid of the guy,” Mills deadpanned. “Been trying to shake him for 12 years of my NBA career!”
Then, he quickly turned serious. “Just seeing him in the locker room is very pleasing. I know he’s been through a lot to get back here. He’s excited and ready to go.”
There was a lot of that at Media Day Monday, as Kristian Winfield lays out. Take his discussion on his first impressions of Brooklyn.
“At a young age, I was going around the islands singing ‘spread love, it’s the Brooklyn way’ and not really understanding what the hell that phrase meant,” Mills said. “To now fast forward and I have the opportunity to not only feel what that means, but an opportunity to also spread it as a member of the Brooklyn Nets, it’s something that I’m very passionate about.”
Then, there was the discussion of Brooklyn coffee shops. It should be noted that in San Antonio, he was the leader of the “Coffee Gang” and used his love of the drink to organize not just the team but community groups aimed at reducing domestic violence. He had previously told the media that he had already toured some Brooklyn coffee emporiums.Hes liked what he sees ... and smells.
“Just being able to feel the love and the vibe and how vibrant the city is, from coffee shops, to restaurants to music, and arts and buildings,’’ he told the gathered press. “It’s all stuff that I acknowledge, and I appreciate and I gain a lot of inspiration from all of those things because at the end of the day, it helps me perform on the court.
“I’m able to, you know, gain a lot of passion from all of that. I think it’s understanding of the name that you wear on the front of your chest and who you’re representing in that sense.”
He even described his new look as a “Brooklyn haircut.”
That’s part of the reason why Steve Nash bought into the signing, a two-year, $12 million deal (with the second year a player option.)
“I think he’s an incredible lift to our culture,” said Nets head coach Steve Nash. “Just being the type of character he is, the personality he has and his ability to shoot and play with pace helps us immensely as well.”
Just how big remains to be seen. He’ll get a lot of minutes as the team’s sixth man, but will that be the Patty Mills of the restrained Spurs offense or the wide open game of the Australian Boomers. In the do-or-die bronze medal game, the Aussies head coach Brian Goorjian told his team, “We’re putting the ball in Patty’s hands.” That simple. And Mills was spectacular: 26 points in the first half, 42 overall, a record for a medal round game ... and he had something hard to chew on come the medal ceremony.
“Being on the Australian team is who I am and the confidence that I play with and the freedom that I play with is something that’s very empowering, so to be able to bring that here and find my way with that type of swagger is going to be important,” he said.
“Watching this team last season and having conversations with people to be able to get ready for this season, knowing it’s a free system and the way that Steve (Nash) coaches and being able to empower that is important and I guess it’s just the identity piece at the end of the day, understanding who you are and not try to be someone else that you aren’t.”
That would seem to bode well for the Nets.
“That’s something that was obviously very intriguing for me to be a part of, be another weapon to our already heavy-armed offensive game, but I think that’s something I can bring to this team, the ability to play both on and off the ball, being able to ping the ball around, fly around, create confusion, create havoc and try to be that threat,” Mills said.
As Winfield noted, Mills is part of a Western Conference reunion in Brooklyn. Blake Griffin who played most of his career in L.A. with the Clippers, Paul Millsap who was a mainstay in Utah and Denver, and Aldridge who as noted played with Mills in Portland and San Antonio are all now Brooklyn Nets.
Griffin said he had vivid memories of Mills as a member of the Spurs.
“Patty, there’s always certain guys on certain teams where it just seems like they always make a play or a big shot, and not necessarily the LeBrons or those guys,” Griffin said. “There’s just always a guy who just comes up big with a steal, a great pass, or whatever it is, and Patty was always one of those guys to me. Just a really good basketball player.”
The Nets hope that’s what Mills will bring to them this year. He laid it out in personal terms Monday.
“Taking pride in your role and what you need to do for the betterment of the team,” he gleaned. “It’s really taking leadership in that standpoint, but this is all new to me, being a new chapter in a new life and getting to know my teammates on a different level.”
- Australian star Patty Mills wants to take his Olympic swagger to the Brooklyn Nets and win an NBA championship - Russell Gould - News Australia
- Nets new sixth man Patty Mills is learning to spread love the Brooklyn way - Kristian Winfield - New York Daily News