Darko Milicic will always be remembered as one of the biggest busts in NBA draft history, since he was taken ahead of players like Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Bosh. However, the fact is, he is a serviceable backup big man.
With that said, he would be a great target for the Boston Celtics.
According to Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports, the Celtics, Brooklyn Nets and Los Angeles Clippers are considered to be the main suitors for Darko's services. Milicic is coming off a mediocre season with the Minnesota Timberwolves, but he is a seven-footer with talent who would be a good fit in Boston.
Milicic never lived up to expectations after the Detroit Pistons selected him No. 2 overall behind LeBron James in 2003, but he went on to have some fairly productive seasons with the Orlando Magic, Memphis Grizzlies and Timberwolves. He isn't a starting-caliber player, but Milicic can provide a little offense, some rebounding and good shot-blocking off the bench.
Ever since the Celtics dealt center Kendrick Perkins to the Oklahoma City Thunder, they have had trouble filling the 5 spot sufficiently. Kevin Garnett slid in and did a nice job for much of last season, but he isn't a true center and needs some support. The only obvious center on the roster is rookie Fab Melo, but he is a project with a lot of developing to do.
Milicic wouldn't have to play big minutes, but he could contribute in a role similar to what Greg Stiemsma did last season. Stiemsma was far from a star player, but he spelled KG and wasn't a disaster on the court. Milicic has a lot more potential than Stiemsma, though, so letting Stiemsma walk and signing the Serbian big man makes a lot of sense.
Aside from losing shooting guard Ray Allen, the Celtics have done a lot of good things this offseason. They re-signed Garnett and Brandon Bass, are close to re-signing Jeff Green and brought in Jason Terry as well. They have done enough to ensure that they will remain in the title hunt, and while Milicic may seem like an insignificant piece, he would only help the cause.
If Boston were pursuing Milicic with designs on starting him, then I obviously wouldn't be so optimistic about his prospects. As a guy who plays 15 minutes off the bench, however, you could do a lot worse. Just two seasons ago, Milicic averaged 8.8 points, 5.2 rebounds and two blocks per game for the T'Wolves. He isn't the sieve he has been made out to be.
It isn't easy to find quality big men at the NBA level, and although Milicic is never going to be able to live up to his lofty draft status, he is quite serviceable. Aside from the beginning of his career with the Pistons, he hasn't had many opportunities to play on winning teams either, so it would be interesting to see how he might fare in Boston.
While it wouldn't be devastating for the Celtics or their fans if Milicic were to sign elsewhere, there is no reason not to sign him. He would give Boston some solid depth at a position that has been an issue for the past couple of years.
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