There was a time when Darko Milicic was second only to LeBron James. Thus, he was picked right after King James in the 2003 draft and ahead of LeBron's future teammates, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, as well as Carmelo Anthony.
If you froze that moment in time and said that in nine years the Boston Celtics could get the big man who was better than Anthony, Wade and Bosh, every Celtics fan would jump at that chance.
Then again, if you took that same moment in time and said that Darko would be a huge bust and that LeBron, Wade and Bosh would join forces you would be called crazy.
Nine years later we have the benefit of hindsight.
Now, Darko has been talked about in jokes more so than in real NBA talk. His name is synonymous with bust and he is a member of the elite club, "what were they thinking when they drafted this guy?" Fellow members include Sam Bowie, Kwame Brown, Greg Oden and Adam Morrison.
In the 2003 draft, the Celtics picked Kendrick Perkins with the 27th pick, 25 spots after Darko. They were much better off with Perk.
Perkins is gone now though and the Celtics have been searching for more frontcourt depth ever since, making now free agent and bust Darko Milicic an interesting choice. According to Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports, the Celtics are one of three teams Milicic could go to.
It would be easy to quickly jump on the "sign Darko" bandwagon on the grounds that the Celtics could use more big men and maybe he would show shades of second overall pick talent. But first let's consider a few things.
First of all, he is not an efficient offensive player. In order for him to be really effective on the offensive end, he needs a lot of touches, something not readily available for most Celtics reserve big men. Also, he is a bad free-throw shooter, shooting under 60 percent for his career.
On defense he is decent, but nothing special. His deficiency on defense comes in the exact place the Celtics need the most help: rebounding. For his size, he is a subpar rebounder at best.
Also, the Celtics aren't necessarily as thin at the center and power forward positions as everyone thinks. Next season, they have Brandon Bass, Jeff Green, JaJuan Johnson and Jared Sullinger at power forward, and Kevin Garnett, Chris Wilcox and Fab Melo at center.
As it is, they are likely deep enough, barring any bad injuries.
If they really want another big man, or more specifically, a seven footer, they could look to a player like Aaron Gray rather than Darko. The Celtics don't necessarily need just size and some scoring. They have just about enough size and definitely enough scoring.
It's rebounding they need. Darko can't give them enough. Plus, the price tag on Milicic will likely be more than a minimum deal, and the Celtics could spend their money in wiser ways by chasing a shooting guard like Courtney Lee or retaining players like Greg Stiemsma, Mickael Pietrus and Keyon Dooling.
At the end of the day, the bottom line is this: It's 2012, not 2003, and we all know that Darko Milicic is not the player everyone thought he was. Five teams have tried to get the second pick talent of Darko and five teams have failed.
There is no sense in the Celtics making themselves the sixth team to waste their time on Darko. Not with the depth and limited cap space they have. Their money is in short order, not their size.
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