Darko Milicic Could Have Been a Stud, but Larry Brown Had to Exist

Bare KnucksAnalyst IAugust 23, 2009

ORLANDO, FL - APRIL 28:  Darko Milicic #31 of the Orlando Magic dunks in the first half over Dale Davis #34 of the Detroit Pistons in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2007 NBA Playoffs on April 28, 2007 at Amway Arena in Orlando, Florida.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)

Why did Darko Milicic fail? I blame Larry Brown. For 2 and a half seasons with the Pistons, Larry Brown never played Darko meaningful minutes. Darko got about 5 minutes a game, all coming in garbage time. Someone in the media even nicknamed him “The human victory cigar“, because he only got on the court after the game was decided, a Pistons win or loss.

How can you expect a young talent to improve if he’s playing once or twice a week for 5 minutes? You have to throw rookies and young guys into the mix and let them make mistakes and learn. Darko never got that chance, and was completely mentally destroyed from the hellish years in Detroit.

Now, some say with Rasheed and Ben Wallace on the team, there was no room for Darko in the rotation. Mehmet Okur was getting some of the backup time. But really? Darko couldn’t sniff the court, at all? He couldn’t have gotten in at the end of a quarter or two and worked up a sweat? Learned a few things? He was the #2 pick! He had to have some talent! He’s got to have the opportunity to play. How often does a #2 pick not get a chance to prove himself with the team that drafted him? Maybe the pick wouldn’t have been such a disaster if Brown gave him the opportunity to play and contribute. [READ MORE...]