Darko Deja Vu ?
Remember an extreme young rookie buried in a deep bench with much to no playing time at all, trapped behind all star players on a contending team. I see a Déjà vu in the making with Darko Milicic trapped on the Detroit Pistons bench. Same was the case with Jermain O’Neal when he entered the league in 96. He was trapped in a deep and talented Portland frontcourt and didn’t see any significant playing time until his 5th year, when he switched teams and became an instant All Star. Same should be true for Milicic who can’t get past Detroits deep frontcourt which is assembled to win now.
Milicic will flourish on any team that can give him playing time. He is destined to be the next Jermain O’neal kind of player. He wasn’t the no. 2 pick in his draft class for nothing.
GM Dumars, right now one of the best in the business, didn’t draft Darko for fun while passing up Carmelo, Bosh or Wade. He knows Darko can tear up any moment if he could only get into games.
If you compare Darko to much less talented europlayers that came into the league this year, lets say Seattles Johann Petro, you have to start crying for the fact that a much less ready kid as Petro is, to what Darko and Jermain were when they first came into the league, he already got more starts in this season than Darko and Jermain got in his their first 3 career years combined and will likely play more games in this season than Darko and Jermain in their first three.
Darko and Jermain weren’t less skilled or less ready then Petro is now, they entered the league in a bad situation. Would anyone doubt that Jermain would have been even better, or an All Star earlier if he had come into the league to a rebuilding team and had gotten extensive floor time ?
Think about another Europrospect that had an awkward rookie year but his coach believed in him and just let him play anyway and learn on the job, let him make mistakes and learn from them, his coach took a lot of heat for doing so but it payed out just the next season and only got better from there on. You know its Nowitzki and Don Nelson we are talking about. And you know how it went from there.
Same should be true for Darko. He has learned the business now from being around All Stars and Champions for three years now and is just waiting to explode on the scene if only he would get the chance. He is now just one year older than Nowitzki was when he entered the league but will have no trouble with adjusting to the American lifestyle, since he already is in it for three years. Sure you say but can he play?
Best evidence was last years Euro Championships, Darko was a force for the Serbian National Team after he got accustomed to playing so much all of a sudden. At the Euros Milicic averaged 18 Points, 16 Boards, 5 Blocks on a 40 minute average, and that Team was stacked with shooting happy guards, NBA talent and was feuding.
For any team that is in dire straights of an inside presence. Don’t gamble on the draft, don’t wait for the next big free agent Center to resurrect you. Both won’t help you now. Pack whatever is necessary, draft picks or veterans, and pry Darko away from Detroit now.
Let’s face the facts for a minute, had Darko stayed in Europe and just stayed at the level he was playing on when he became the no.2 draftchoice. He would be the clear cut No.1 pick in this years draft, so any team that trades for him will get a No.1 Draft choice prospect out of nothing, isn’t that what rebuilding teams are looking for?
Darko has All Star written all over him. Indiana was the only franchise to see behind the numbers when Jermain was available. Who can pass up a potential All Star candidate 20 years old with title experience that got schooled by the Wallaces and because of him living in the US and being around the NBA for three years now will have no adjusting period.
Ain’t it obvious ? Dumars knows what he has in Darko, does anybody question that he is the smartest GM in the league right now ? If Darko is that bad why hasn’t Dumars cut his losses until now and shipped Darko away for anything. Darko was killing people in practice and that is the Wallace’s we are talking about, a multiple defensive player of the year and the one Coach Dean Smith himself proclaimed one of his top 3 players all time, far ahead of someone called Jordan.