Allow me to tell the world and all you basketball fans out there something very important.
Darko Milicic is good, and I can't stress it enough. He won't be a superstar like his draft class counterparts LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade. This is not to say that he cannot be a legit starting center in the NBA.
Darko Milicic was traded from the New York Knicks for Brian Cardinal of the Minnesota Timberwolves, purely for salary cap reasons. While it was revered as a neutral move, it proved to be positive at the end of the day.
Darko Milicic, while learning the triangle offense, and being horribly out of shape and lacking any type of confidence whatsoever, he did many positive things, please consider:
- 13 points, 9 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 blocks against the Los Angeles Lakers.
- 16 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals, and 1 block against the Golden State Warriors
- 15 points, 10 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal and 2 blocks against the Sacramento Kings
- 16 points, 12 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, and 1 block against the Los Angeles Lakers
- 8 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 block(debut game, 19 minutes, +35 plus/minus rating, 2nd best in Wolves history) against the Oklahoma City Thunder
- 2 rebounds, 4 blocks (10 minutes) against the Atlanta Hawks
What brings this subject up? The world knows that the Wolves want to resign Darko and in the mind of the general public, it's a dumb move. In the mind of a Wolves fan, it's smart only because we've actually seen what Darko Milicic can do.
I was listening to one of Chad Ford podcast's and he starts talking about Darko Milicic (a great podcast by the way). The infamous bust of 2003? Chad Ford agrees. Ryen Russilo, the radio broadcaster argues that he's actually very skilled.
He is, and his problem according to Russilo is his persona. Of course, if you were told you had to be a superstar because of Lebron, Wade, Bosh and Anthony, it has to kill your ego. He even brings up an instance where Darko Milicic was driving around Detroit without a license for two years (he was drafted by Detroit).
Here's Chad Ford's and the transcript:
CF: Can I share an anectdote?
RR: Please do (laughing) are you kidding me?
CF: And this isn't really a Darko anectdote this is an anecdote I think that's funny about scouting. A lot of GM's will tell you that scouts do not like to put in writing, their suggestions in their picks. They like to sit around tables, and talk about players, and then when they go into the league, they'll tell you that the guys that play really well they like him.
So what I started doing about five or six years ago is I have this notebook, this notebook is gold. I talk to a lot of NBA guys everyday, a lot of scouts and I talk about draft prospects all year, and I write the guy's name and what he says. Um If I were to sell that to a publisher right now, you'd really start to see who knows what they're talking about and who doesn't.
Because what happens after the draft is everyone says oh yeah Tyreke Evans that was the no.1 guy on our board, or Brandon Jennings we all love Brandon Jennings. And that just isn't true! And Darko Milicic, oh we knew Darko Milicic was going to be a bust. I'm sorry, there was all sorts of teams that were trying to trade up to no.2 to get Darko Milicic including some very well revered talent scouts in the league. I got it wrong, Joe Dumars got it wrong, lot's of scouts got it wrong and I think there's a diffrence between collectively getting something wrong, and being the only person out there who loves a guy or hates a guy and then getting it wrong.
Anyways, the point is, there are still people out there that believe in him and stick up for him. I however think, that it's because the Minnesota Timberwolves who believe in him, that this is his real opportunity. Think about it, the Minnesota Timberwolves ever since the Kevin Garnett trade, have been the center of mediocrity, embarrassment, verbal abuse and misunderstanding media.
Darko is no exception. It's like a match made in heaven right?
Darko hasn't been embraced, he hasn't had a fair opportunity, and it seems that it was a breath of fresh air. Darko has a coaching staff and a front office that fully believes in him ten fold. For probably the first time in his NBA career, he felt like he belonged somewhere. Darko chants, the internet bloggers, the Wolves locker room and the alike have all embraced him, because he embraced the Wolves.
It's one thing to get minutes, but it's another to get them with a full team fully embracing you, trust me as a point guard myself, knowing your teammates trust you to do certain things, it elevates your game knowing you have to produce and they are trusting you to produce.
Darko Milicic is going to get his chance. He's more than likely going to get the starting job in Minnesota, and he's going to get the minutes. The way the Timberwolves run their offense will compliment his passing skills, his size and his footwork on the low block.
Of course if you read old articles about Darko, you will see that a few years back, he would play great through long stretches of time, and then would dissapear.
I think this will be the difference maker, and Darko will finally "show up".