The Dallas Mavericks’ lack of depth was exposed in their first round loss to the Los Angeles Clippers. There’s more than a few deficiencies in the roster. Yes, an All-Star level acquisition would be incredible, but those are harder to come by. What’s a little easier to obtain is a veteran point guard who’s seen plenty of playoff battles.
Enter Patty Mills. The San Antonio Spurs guard is definitely in the sunset of his career, but that doesn’t mean he can’t help the Mavericks.
The 6’1, 180 pound Mills just finished out a four-year, $48 million contract with the Spurs. He’ll be entering his 13th year in the league next season at age 33. Mills averaged 10.8 points and 2.4 assists per game last season, appearing in 68 games. He also shot 37% from behind the arc on 6.3 attempts per game.
Mills would add another shooter to the Mavericks’ lineup, which can’t be understated. You can never have enough shooting in today’s NBA. Mills has seen plenty of consequential playoff games as well, so there would be no shot he’s uncomfortable taking in clutch situations. He’s a career 38% shooter from deep, and shoots the exact same percentage in the playoffs. Those numbers come on decent volume, just above five 3-point attempts per game the last four years.
He’d also add a dimension to the lineup that the Mavericks sorely missed last season—the ability to handle the ball on the perimeter. He’s average at getting to the basket, but he would still improve the Mavericks’ lackluster ball handling outside of Luka Doncic.
Mills would also add a strong leadership voice to the locker room, having been through numerous playoff runs with the Spurs. The Mavericks could have used a battle-tested veteran several times last season, and Mills would have fit that role perfectly. He’s also durable, having missed only 13 games since 2015-16.
Mills is the type of small guard that gets hunted on defense, especially during the playoffs. Teams will only go after him more frequently as he ages. He’s also not the second playmaker that the Mavericks desperately need, as evidenced by his low assist numbers. Mills’ shooting percentage at the rim also took a major dive last season, going from 68% in 2019-20 to 57% last year. These are all concerning areas of his game, and whatever contract he’s handed should reflect those worries. The Mavericks front office will have to determine whether Mills’ shot making ability and leadership outweighs the weaknesses in his game.
Fit with the Mavericks
Mills slots right into the Mavericks’ rotation simply because of his shooting. And there were plenty of times last season when the Mavericks, despite their advanced age, could have used the veteran leadership Mills would bring. No one on the Dallas roster last year had anywhere near the big game experience that Mills would bring.
The best role for Mills on the Mavericks would be a backup guard, especially if they move Jalen Brunson in a trade. Or, less likely, if new head coach Jason Kidd decides Brunson should start alongside Doncic. A bench unit of both Mills and Brunson probably wouldn’t work, as neither have shown an ability to run offense or keep other teammates involved. But as it stands right now, the Mavericks rotation is woefully short on proven playoff performers. If Mills is available for a bargain contract, Dallas should add him and worry about the who shares the floor later. The Mavericks shouldn’t make a player like Mills a priority, but for the right price, he could make a big impact next season.