Darko Milicic has been looked down upon as a pro because he failed to meet whatever expectations people had of him after he was picked No. 2 overall in 2003.
The high expectations have made Darko almost a household name.
In this story I review 16 games in which Darko actually did live up to the hype he came in with. The story was inspired by Darko's performance the other night against Charlotte in a team loss.
I have never been a Darko fan, but I always did want him to succeed and he didn't let us down—at least 16 times in his first eight seasons! Enjoy.
In his first season, Darko didn't even have one good game. He saw limited playing time during his tenure with the Pistons, but he did become the youngest player EVER to appear in an NBA Finals game (18 years and 356 days) when the Pistons defeated the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2004 NBA Finals.
In his second season, Darko put up a good game as the season was about to end.
Detroit visited Atlanta and Darko went off in 30 minutes of action. He scored 16 points off of 7/11 shooting and 2/4 from the line. He also added 5 rebs 2 ast and 3 blk in the Detroit win!
Milicic was in Orlando by now, as the Pistons tired of him not producing to their liking.
In this game Darko only played 24 minutes but he made 7/12 shots from the field. He missed both his free throw attempts but helped his team to a win with 8 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, 4 blocks and his 14 points. Pretty good for only playing half the game.
Darko didn't let down for Orlando in this big win.
He scored 14 points off only 3/11 from the field, but he did hit 8/11 from the line. Milicic added 10 rebounds, 2 steals and 4 blocks in 34 minutes of action.
Can you say GOAT? JK
The Magic lost this game but Darko did his part. He played 37 minutes and scored 16 points on 7/11 from the field and 2/2 from the line. He also added 12 rebounds, 1 steal and 4 blocks!
In the very next game after he did his thing in the loss vs NJ, Milicic helped Orlando neat Portland by playing 34 minutes and scoring 21 points on 6/10 from the field and 9/9 from the line!
He added 8 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 blocked shots. Nice.
He had a good February of 2007 apparently as he helped Orlando beat the Bulls in this one. Milicic scored 14 points in 35 minutes of action as he shot 6/11 from the field and 2/4 from the line.
Darko added 16 rebounds in this game and also five blocked shots, not to mention two assists. Nice game Darko!
Near the end of the 06-07 season, Orlando lost to Minnesota but Darko did his thang. In 38 minutes Darko scored 18 points on 6/9 shooting and 6/10 from the line.
Darko added 10 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 steals and 3 blocks in this fine individual performance.
On Memphis for the 2007-08 season, Milicic battled with effort against Houston. He scored 20 points on 9/14 shooting and 2/4 from the line. Also, Milicic added 6 rebs, 2 steals and 2 blocks. Wow, awesome.
Memphis wins... Game MVP, Darko!
The Grizz lost this one but Milicic had 14 points and 16 rebounds and 5 blocked shots. He added an assist and shot 6/10 from the field and 2/2 from the line in 40 minutes of action.
Again, the Grizzlies lost but Darko recorded 21 points in 32 minutes on 10/14 shooting from the field and 1/4 from the line. He added seven rebounds in 32 minutes.
Memphis pulled out a win against Sacramento due to some major help from Milicic who had 19 points, 10 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal and 3 blocks in only 30 minutes. Darko shot 6/11 from the field and 7/8 from the line.
This was probably Darko's best ever individual game and it came at a good time. The Grizzlies took out the team that would go on to lose in the Finals: The L.A. Lakers. The Lakers could not stop Milicic and lost because of it.
Darko scored 20 points on 7/14 shooting and he made 6/7 free throws. Milicic added 12 rebounds, 3 assists and 4 blocks in only 33 minutes.
If only he did this every game, and not only twice a year!
This was basically the only good game Darko had in 08-09. The Grizz lost but Darko had 15 points, 10 rebounds, 3 assists and 1 block in only 24 minutes. He made 6/7 shots from the field and 3/5 free throws. Pretty good for only half a game. They should have played him 48 minutes: He might have had 30 points, 20 rebs and 6 assists.
OK, maybe not.
Darko went up against his old-teammate in Memphis; former NBA rookie of the year Pau Gasol. Gasol went on to lead L.A. to a title in 2010 but Darko schooled him a few times in this Minnesota loss in the regular season.
Darko made 8/12 shots on L.A. and scored 16 points in 29 minutes of action. Milicic added 12 rebs, 3 ast, 1 stl and 1 blk.
Darko played 37 minutes and made 7/10 from the field and 1/3 from the line. He totaled 15 points, 10 rebs, 3 ast, 1 stl and 4 blocks in this one!
Darko had his best game so far this season by scoring 13 points, grabbing 12 rebounds, dishing off for 5 assists and blocking 4 shots, but, alas, the Wolves lost anyway at Charlotte. Milicic played 37 minutes. Have the Wolves finally found the secret to their success?
In his greatest 16 games Darko has averaged 16.6 pts, 10.3 rebounds and 3.1 blocks per game in only 31 minutes a night, and he made 106 of 177 shots (.599 fg%) 54/78 free throws (.692 ft%).These are really nice numbers.
Unfortunately his total career so far has seen him average 5.6 pts, 4.1 rebs, 1.3 blocks and he has shot 45 percent from the field and 58 percent from the line.
That's Darko for you. Maybe 2012 will be his break out season. Gooooooooo Darko!!!