Patty Mills: ‘I see a real hungerness’ in Ben Simmons to return to court

Patty Mills Ben Simmons
Ben Simmons shoots a foul shot.
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Ben Simmons has only been around the Nets for a  few days, but Patty Mills can already see the drive in his new teammate’s eyes.

Simmons is a period of time away from stepping onto the court in a Nets uniform, however, his fellow Aussie can already tell that he wants to be on the court sooner rather than later. Mills is in a better position than most to know how to read Simmons, having known him since he was in primary school.

“I’ve had a lot to do with his family. I played basketball against his brother,” Mills said prior to Wednesday’s game against the New York Knicks.

[READ: Ben Simmons fixed on Nets future with Sixers drama firmly in rearview]

While Mills couldn’t recollect the exact time he first met Simmons, the two will have plenty of time to get reacquainted now that he is officially a resident of Kings County. The Nets sharpshooter was excited to have Simmons join the organization and after seeing him at the team facility on Wednesday Mills can see Simmons is itching to get on the court.

“I see a real hungerness from him,” Mills said. “His demeanor and his desire to be able to not only get back on the floor, but make a significant impact. He’s got a lot of, I believe, fire built up underneath him that has a desire to get back and be the player that he is. And even get better and even grow, and develop. I think that’s one thing I’m excited to be in the same room and same locker room as him to do my part to help him develop. Help him grow and help in any way possible there.”

Simmons is working his way back after not playing any games for the Philadelphia 76ers this season. Simmons stepped away from the game after last season to work on his mental health and was traded to Brooklyn last week in a deal that sent disgruntled superstar James Harden to the City of Brotherly Love.

The newest Brooklyn superstar told reporters on Tuesday that he felt good physically.

“Mentally, I’m getting there,” Simmons added. “It’s an ongoing thing. Staying on top of that but I think I’m heading in the right direction.”

Despite a  seemingly sincere press conference, that hasn’t stopped others from questioning the validity of his claims about his mental health. Two Philadelphia media types were quick to tweet their skepticism on Monday after the Nets tweeted out a video of Simmons on the court and smiling.

Mills wasn’t buying that those comments would add any extra fire when he does return.

“I think that there’s enough reasons for him to be able to be the competitive player that he is,” Mills said. “So I think that any other added fuel to the fire I’m sure will do that. But you can just start with one and I think that gets him there and I think that’s where he’s at.”