Keys to the Wolf Den: Darko Milicic's Future As a Wolf

Timber WolfAnalyst IIFebruary 23, 2010

DALLAS - FEBRUARY 12:  Kevin Love #42 of the Sophomore team goes up for a shot against the Rookie team during the first half of the T-Mobile Rookie Challenge & Youth Jam part of 2010 NBA All-Star Weekend at American Airlines Center on February 12, 2010 in Dallas, Texas. 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 Jessica Rinaldi-Pool/Getty Images)
Getty Images/Getty Images

Note: Please excuse my absence, my laptop has been broken for the last week, and I haven't been able to write. I will try to make up for lost time.

Darko Milicic is an intriguing story in the NBA, only because of time.

In the draft, Milicic was taken after LeBron James, and before the likes of Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh, all marquee players in the NBA.

The pressure of being a No. 2 pick has to be hard as it is, but to be mentioned in the same sentence as some of the NBA's top players and not performing anywhere on that level has to amplify the pain and disappointment of one they call Darko.

Darko has been everywhere, from playing moderate minutes with the Orlando Magic and Memphis Grizzlies, to playing no minutes at all with the New York Knicks, and it didn't matter whether it was a losing or winning organization, Darko has watched more NBA games then he has played.

Darko has played one game as a Timberwolf, and already has done some very impressing things

  • Nearly tied a Wolves record in plus/minus numbers with +35 against the Oklahoma City. Kevin Garnett has the highest with +36.
  • Played 19 minutes, and posted 8 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 block despite being winded very early.
  • Received "We want Darko chants", something that Wolves fans have rarely done for a player. Other Wolves that have had that experience regularly: Kevin Love, Corey Brewer.
Video Play Button
Videos you might like

With only one practice, Darko was able to play in a complicated offense, in which he describes as "easy". Darko receives praise from head coach Kurt Rambis, stating he has a "tremendously high basketball IQ, he picks up things so quickly, he fits in so well with what we want to do".

With that being said, what's Darko's future?

Well I can honestly say that the Wolves don't NEED him to succeed as a Wolf, but as a Wolves fan, being through as many troubles that the Wolves have been in, we WANT him to succeed here.

The Minnesota Timberwolves have never been the beneficiary of anything that's one-sided, ever! Trading Randy Foye for Brandon Roy was a prime example. The mentality of Timberwolves fans are, simply put, "Ready for something nice to happen".

Trading Brian Cardinal for Darko Milicic can only benefit the Wolves, but the best thing that could happen would be that Darko averages decent numbers (7-10 points, 7-10 rebounds, 1-2 blocks), gets decent playing time while getting in shape, helps the Wolves win a few games, and plays himself into a contract extention.

For some reason, that might happen.

"It was a good first experience. I didn't expect to play as much as I did. I didn't expect to be able to play that much. I fought through the first run, and it was hard. After that, my legs were out, but that's regular for not being in shape. I felt pretty good," Darko said.

Kurt Rambis seems to like him as well.

"I thought it was exceptional for [Darko]. He received a warm reception, and the fans appreciated how he played, the style of ball that he brings to us. Even a chance to get him back in the ball game, those are all strong messages to him, he's appreciated and wanted here. His teammates saw a little bit of how to play with him. He's going to be somebody everybody is going to want to play with, just cause of his capabilities and his strengths. He looked like he was having fun and enjoyed playing out there," head coach Kurt Rambis said.

All in all, Darko's future with basketball is either one of the two. He plays well, puts up decent numbers and resigns with the Wolves for one year, and a player option after that, or he goes back to Europe, ending his NBA career.