With Gary Neal's play in last year's finals, it earned him a pretty nice paycheck in the offseason. He signed with the Bucks for 2 years and $6.5million, leaving behind a Spurs team that had just missed out on an NBA title. He was eventually traded to Charlotte mid-season this year, and should be a key reserve player for them next year.
Neal's play off the bench in last year's Finals was huge. He hit 14 of 30 from the three point line, good for a 46.7% clip, while averaging 9.4 PPG in a little over 24 minutes of game time. His Game 3 off the bench was pretty remarkable when he scored 24 points on 6 of 10 shooting from three en route to one of the most lopsided wins in Finals history as the Spurs won 113-77.
The question is, can Patty Mills follow up that performance this year? His play this postseason has been hit or miss. Mills was great in the Portland series, where he averaged 11 PPG while shooting 55% from the field. In the Dallas and Oklahoma City series, he averaged 4.7 PPG, shooting just 33% from the floor. The Spurs will need more of a Portland series performance, especially if Tony Parker's ankle causes any problems.
San Antonio relies pretty heavily on its second unit when it comes to minutes, and had some success in the Finals last year. The second unit averaged 24 points/game in the seven game series. But believe it or not, they were outscored by the Heat's bench 193-168 in the seven games.
Keep an eye on what Mills can bring to the table this series and if he can follow up Neal's performance from last year. The Spurs will have a real legitimate shot to take down the two-time defending champs if he can.