CLEVELAND, OH – NOVEMBER 22: Patty Mills #8 and Kevin Durant #7 of the Brooklyn Nets react after a made shot against the Cleveland Cavaliers during the second half at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse on November 22, 2021 in Cleveland, Ohio. The Nets defeated the Cavaliers 117-112; NBA; Thanksgiving. (Photo by Ron Schwane/Getty Images)
Thanksgiving is here! Even the worst teams in the NBA have something to be thankful for, and here, we’ll run through them all. This is going to be a cheerful post for fans of every team, so I’ll try my best to think of good things (even for Pelicans fans). Everyone deserves to feel joy this week before the cold, cruel realities of early December set in.
One thing every NBA team has to be thankful for on Thanksgiving: Brooklyn Nets – Patty Mills is electric
For all the hoopla and distractions, the Nets just keep on truckin’. They’re on top of the East at 13-5 and are looking like the contenders many thought they could be, even without Kyrie Irving.
The main reason? Kevin Durant, of course, and then the resurgent James Harden (don’t look now, but Harden’s drawing heaps of fouls once more!).
But Patty Mills might be the third most important player on the Nets. In Irving’s absence, Mills has been the ultimate plug-and-play gunner. He is equally deadly spraying threes off pindown screens as he is on pull-up jumpers, and he opens up innumerable looks for teammates with his off-ball movement and timely cuts.
Playing with deadeye shooters like Harden, Durant, and Joe Harris has a multiplicative effect on shooting efficiency. Mills knows that defenders can’t leave their man to help on him when he’s running around, so he’s getting more separation than ever before. It’s resulted in a 49% three-point percentage, the best of his career by a metric mile.
The best part about Mills is his ability to fit into any lineup. He’s just as comfortable running with the starters as a catch-and-shoot specialist as he is anchoring second units as a playmaker and initiator. Whether or not Kyrie returns this season, Mills has proven that he can fill Irving’s low-tops capably enough to make this team a contender.