Breaking Down Why Boston Celtics Signing of Darko Milicic Is Vastly Overrated
The long, winding road that's characterized Darko Milicic's nine-year career just got a little bit longer.
The signing of Milicic will give the C's 14 guaranteed contracts heading into training camp which begins Sept. 29.
With Kevin Garnett having to spend so many minutes at the center position last season, it's not at all surprising that Boston is bringing in another big body to ease some of KG's burden. Milicic has never come close to justifying the Detroit Pistons' decision to select him with the second-overall pick, but he can still impact a game with his size and block some shots.
Unfortunately, that's really all he can do.
Unless the 27-year-old makes some serious, late-blooming strides, the Celtics will be inheriting a role player capable of playing a very limited role.
After all, there's a reason Milicic is signing for the veteran's minimum. The Minnesota Timberwolves decided to amnesty him this summer after signing him to a four-year, $20 million deal in 2010. That might not sound like the most egregious overspending this league's ever seen, and it's certainly more forgivable than taking the guy second in the draft.
But it was yet another instance in which a front office put way too much faith in this guy.
Don't expect the Celtics to do the same.
They understand what Milicic brings—and doesn't bring—to the table. He won't add any offense, and that's just as well with frontcourt scorers like Garnett and Brandon Bass doing most of the heavy lifting in the paint.
Milicic will surprise you with the occasional baby hook, but he's not consistent from mid-range, and he's not especially explosive. His career 46 percent shooting may not seem self-evidently atrocious, but it's pretty disappointing for a guy who doesn't stray too far from the basket.
For a man his size, you'd also expect him to grab a few more rebounds. He collected just 9.9 per 48 minutes last season, meaning there literally aren't enough minutes in a game for Darko to average a double-double.
Shortcomings aside, you certainly can't blame GM Danny Ainge for making what amounts to a pretty modest move.
Blogger Bill Simmons certainly isn't:
Heckle me all you want about Darko on the Celtics. This is a no-lose. Either we get a shotblocker or nonstop comedy. I fully support it.— Bill Simmons (@sportsguy33) September 20, 2012
Of course, Boston may very well get some shot-blocking and comedy alike.
If Boston can get 15 minutes a game out of Milicic, head coach Doc Rivers will probably be happy enough. If Milicic doesn't play with enough toughness to earn those minutes, we might see Fab Melo in action a little more often.
In other words, nothing hinges on Darko—and that cuts both ways. He won't wow anyone, and he won't break any hearts.
So long as Celtics fans don't get too high or low on what amounts to a pretty marginal roster adjustment, they won't find themselves disappointed by the results.
This may not be the bargain of the summer, but it won't be its biggest mistake either.
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