Improving the bench will be a top priority for the Boston Celtics this summer, with an extra guard high on their shopping list.
The Celtics’ lack of playmaking was painfully exposed during their NBA Finals series against the Golden State Warriors, as was their limited three-point shooting. So it makes sense to think that Brad Stevens and the Celtics front office will look to fix that issue in the offseason, most likely by increasing the guard rotation off the bench.
According to NBC Sports Boston’s Chris Forsberg, Patty Mills should be a prime target given his playmaking and three-point shooting ability. Of course, Mills would enter the Celtics’ locker room with several pre-existing relationships, but it’s his friendship with former San Antonio Spurs assistant Ime Udoka that could prove most beneficial.
“Speaking of Udoka connections… Mills and Udoka go way back, having spent seven seasons together at the Spurs (2012 to 2019) when Udoka was an assistant at San Antonio… Mills may be past his prime, but he always is.” yet another solid matchmaker and an above-average shooter who doesn’t turn the ball and has a championship on his resume,” Forsberg wrote in his June 25 article.
Mills currently has a $6.2 million player option on his contract with the Brooklyn Nets, but he could decide to back out given the current situation with Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, and a reunion with Udoka might be too good to forgo it.
Mills impresses in Brooklyn
Though the Nets had a turbulent 2021-22 NBA season in which they constantly struggled to keep their best players on the court, Mills found a way to string together a consistent season — earning him praise from media outlets across the league brought in.
In 81 regular-season games, Mills averaged 11.4 points, 2.3 assists and 1.9 rebounds per game while shooting 40% from three and 40.8% from the field — it’s worth noting that the veteran guard has his Time between starter and exit was shared by Bank, with 48 of his 81 appearances in the starting XI.
Unfortunately, Mills didn’t have a similar impact in the postseason when the Celtics defeated his team in the opening round. In his four postseason appearances, Mills averaged 6.3 points and one rebound per game while shooting 53.8% from deep and 56.3% from field.
Mills’ arrival could hamper Payton Pritchard
While adding Mills to the Celtics’ rotation would significantly improve their bench unit, his arrival could spell trouble for Payton Pritchard. The second-year guard struggled for consistent minutes in the first half of the season as the arrival of Dennis Schroder blocked his path.
Mills’ presence in the roster could have a similar effect, as Udoka would tend to give the veteran a big bench role given his effectiveness as a goalscorer and playmaker. However, Pritchard has proven consistent on offense and a dog on defense – meaning the Celtics front office could choose to develop him from the bench rather than throw him another roadblock.
Regardless of what happens, it’s clear that Udoka has relationships with players across the league, and when you couple that with Boston’s recent finals run, they clearly become a target for talented veterans looking to compete for a ring.
More heavy on Celtics News
More stories are loading