One of the most challenging transitions for NBA athletes is always said to be the jump from college to the pros. D'Angelo Russell recently gave some insight via Twitter on what made his move from Ohio State to the NBA so tough as a rookie.
"Patty Mills made me reconsider basketball a few times my rookie year more than anybody."D'Angelo Russell shares which player was a tough draw for him in his first year
For an all-star point guard like Russell, some people in the comments were surprised by this response. Nonetheless, this is who the Timberwolves guard said made him rethink basketball as a first-year.
D'Angelo Russell vs. Patty Mills
When reading Russell's answer, some may wonder which games he is referring to. In their first-ever matchup in 2015, Patty Mills only missed two shots on his way to 22 points and a Spurs victory. In that same game, Russell shot 9-23 and scored 24 points. Perhaps this was a game that stuck with Russell because Patty Mills was filling in for Hall-of-Famer Tony Parker. Mills showed that he was not an easy matchup either.
Throughout their four matchups in Russell's rookie year, Patty Mills outscored Russell 65-62 and went 4-0. It is important to note that the San Antonio Spurs were in a much better state than the Los Angeles Lakers at that moment. However, it starts to make sense why Patty Mills sticks out to D'Angelo Russell as a nemesis in his rookie year.
Patty Mills against team USA
Another thing to mention is that Mills has been a headache for more than just Russell. In 2019 and 2021, this NBA veteran has led his Australian basketball team to victories over the USA men's team. Again, it goes to show that all players in the NBA are there for a reason.