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Obligatory Darko Post

22 Jun

Every year there’s a draft, and, predictably, every year since 2003 we’ve had to tolerate Darko Milicic talk.  I don’t plan on talking about him as a solo subject often…

…But I’ll say this much:

  • No, he wasn’t the next Dirk Nowitzki or Pau Gasol, as he was hyped up to be before the selection.  He never displayed an elite jumper and hasn’t played a minute at SF.
  • He did, however, become a top 5 shotblocker in the league, both in terms of total blocks and average per game.  When Larry Brown said he wanted Darko to pattern his game after Bill Russell, he listened.
  • Unlike most rejection specialists, he’s not a total liability on offense, and is a capable, but not stellar rebounder, averaging 8.3 rebounds PER36.
  • He could fit in the rotation of almost every team in the league and thus I’d gladly welcome him back on the Pistons.
  • He may have developed further had he not had six different coaches and played for five different teams in his seven seasons in the league.
  • A few pretty good bigs have played next to Darko; Ben/Rasheed Wallace->Dwight Howard->David Lee->Al Jefferson->Kevin Love.

Nobody knows how good Darko could have been had he ever experienced some consistency as a priority big on a good team.  He is certainly not, however, a bad player, and there have been worse #2 picks in the last decade, and not all have had the perfect careers set out for them on draft day:

  • Evan Turner was considered the most NBA ready player and he wasn’t a starter…
  • Hasheem Thabeet was the highest draft pick to land in the D-League…
  • Michael Beasley was traded for future 2nd round picks after his rookie season…
  • Marvin Williams has only had one season with a PER higher than the average player when his 16.5 bested 15.0…
  • Emeka Okafor never developed as a scorer and couldn’t come close to matching his defensive impact achieved at UCONN…
  • Jay Williams motorcycled himself out the league…
  • and finally, Stromile Swift flamed out of the league entirely.
Of course, the Pistons could have been better off had they drafted Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony, or Chris Bosh (and maybe the goddamned Big Three would never have formed in Miami), but this post is about Darko.  In summary, he was a bust, but he’s also a keeper.
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Posted by on June 22, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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