It seemed like the Nets were bound for a title with Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant and James Harden, but distractions killed their hopes of winning, Patty Mills explains.
“I think there were obviously a lot of things other than basketball,” the former Nets guard told the Daily News. “And it’s hard to be in a place where you’re competing for a championship, and I’ve been there before where you’ve gotta try to limit the distractions as much as you can, no matter if you’re competing for a championship, if you’ve got an X on your back, there are gonna be distractions. It’s just how you deal with them.
“And we didn’t do the best of jobs with being able to deal with distractions, so that’s what it is at the end of the day.”
The 2014 title winner didn’t go into specifics, but it was obvious he was talking about the huge amount of distractions the Nets failed Big Three created.
The extensive list includes Durant asking for a trade during the summer of 2022 and again in 2023, while Kyrie created a massive hullabaloo when he refused to get vaccinated for COVID-19, and then created more drama with social media post containing Antisemitism.
Let’s not forget Harden, who started the trade demand trend in Brooklyn when he asked out near the deadline in February 2022.
“I think any place you go, the ideal scenario is it’s about basketball and you keep it about basketball, and you figure out how to move forward on the basketball court,” Mills continued. “So when you look back at it there, there were definitely a lot of times where there were distractions that got the better of us and that definitely took a toll.”
Mills has since been traded to Atlanta, while the Nets failed to add much firepower to their arsenal over the summer.
It seems they are hoping that Ben Simmons will lead them to a successful season, after he endured a terrible run of injuries last season.
Mills thinks with fellow Australian Simmons at leading the charge, Brooklyn have a fighting chance.
“You look down not only from Ben but the potential there to be able to come together as a group and do something is there, especially the caliber of what everyone knows that Ben can get to,” Mills said. “Obviously the question mark is if and when he gets there, what the team looks like so, from what I’ve seen from Ben for a short time and speaking with him on the side, he’s in a good place physically and mentally, so I’ll keep an eye on those boys.”