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How Could Patty Mills Help the Heat Achieve Further

Patty Mills Heat
(AP Photo/ Nate Billings)

Since 2020, the Miami Heat has become an unignorable contender in the playoffs. Besides the driving forces of the team’s stalwarts, Jimmy Butler and immense bench players, it’s no secret to tell the world that the impact of veteran players is another key factor contributing to the Heat’s two final appearances in 2020 and 2023, which the team has pursued for since the season at the Bubble.

This season’s midway, with no surprise, the Heat acquired Patty Mills to elevate its roster depth. The 35-year-old Australian had his prime time with the San Antonio Spurs, where he contributed to the team’s 2014 NBA champion title. Playing in the league and international stage, Mills consistently keeps his game level while establishing an effect on the team. Let’s dive into his performance this season thus far and how he could help his new team succeed.

Canberra's Patty Mills wants to lead the best-ever Boomers to be the best.(Soobum Im/USA TODAY SPORTS)

First Half of the Season in Atlanta

Before landing on the South Coast, Patty averaged 2.7 points with 10.6 minutes per game in 19 games off the bench. Obviously, Mills was unable to present his sophisticated traits as he played for the Brooklyn Nets from 2021 to 2023 due to the reduced playing time. However, Mills could still shoot 38.2 percent from beyond the arc with a limited amount of plays and produced two double-digit performances in January.

A relatively low in statistics doesn’t fully justify the downfall of Mill’s career. Despite having fewer opportunities in the first half of the season, he stepped up for the team by utilizing space for easy shots and his threatening three-point shooting. Against the Golden State Warriors on January 24, Mills nailed a season-high 13 points, including three three-point shots in front of Stephen Curry. With the ball, his wide-range observation on the court can immediately deliver passes to the right spot, benefiting the Hawks in facilitating the offense.


How Mills Could Potentially Help the Heat

Amidst the absences of Tyler Herro, who has a knee injury to recover from, and Josh Richardson, who was ruled out of the season due to his broken right shoulder, the Heat apparently acquired Mills, aiming to provide the backcourt depth. Mills can provide his experience of playmaking and intact shooting from the bench. His defensive prowess on stealing and high-quality game reading is benefiting the team. Down to his debut for the team, Mills got 13 points with three shots beyond the arc within 16 minutes, giving his high efficiency to the team. In the latest game against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Mills made his first start for the Heat and scored 10 points with the team’s second-best four assists and two steals during the game, helping the Heat top the opponent in 107-104.

Despite an unstable field goal percentage, Mills has generated an average of 2.86 +/—so far, which hugely differentiates his normally negative illustration with the Hawks. Lining up with another veteran, Kevin Love, the duo could not only provide championship experience to younger players such as Jaime Jaquez Jr. and Nikola Jovic but also keep the team intact for the high-intensive play-in tournament (possible) and playoffs.

Moreover, we can’t just skip his prowess internationally. As a stable selection for Team Australia, Mills dominates the scoring and organizing responsibilities in tactics. During the 2023 FIBA World Cup, he put up an impressive 18.6 points and 5 assists in five games on average, grabbing 5.2 rebounds per game with a 6 ‘0 size. Though the team eventually ranked 10th in the competition, there’s no doubt about his leadership while having Josh Giddey, Josh Green, and other youngsters on the roster, which can definitely be applied to the bench roster. Mills’ game in the World Cup represents that he still has stuff in his bag, including agility, the capability of drawing fouls in the paint, and handling bigger defenders.

Heat’s Recent Seasons With Vets 

Other than a high-competent Goran Dragic during the playoffs in the Bubble, Andre Iguodala, the Warriors-Dynasty stalwart who later was traded to the Heat in February 2020, contributed his defensive prowess and ability to make smart plays under pressure, stabilizing the team that pushed it to the finals. 

Turning to 2022 with PJ Tucker and Kyle Lowry, the Heat frustrated the Philadelphia 76ers 4-2 in the East Conference Semifinals and eventually dropped the talented Boston Celtics in Game 7. Similar to Iguodala, Tucker not only brought defensive toughness but also a scary corner-three shooting, while Lowry, who was one of the major factors in the Toronto Raptors’ NBA championship in 2019, brought playmaking, backcourt scoring, and outstanding basketball intelligence. Last season, the roster added Kevin Love before entering the play-in tournament. Besides playing a role of instant backbone in the paint, Love provided the team with his spacing by his shooting and rebounding ability.

While placing eighth in the East Conference, the Heat may need Mills to step up and bring as much energy as possible. Once a Spurs bench killer who sent Miami home in the 2014 NBA Finals, Mills is now accepting the new challenge in his past rivalry to help it achieve further.

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