Notoriously notorious, Darko Milicic is notorious for being drafted higher than players considerably better than him, then "rested" (I don't know why I've used quotation marks, as that's not a quote) for almost three years, and then traded for almost nothing. In fact, let's focus on that first. This the sequence of events that occured:
- Detroit drafts Darko Milicic.
- Detroit sits Darko Milicic for two and a half years.
- Detroit trades an expiring contract (Elden Campbell) and a future first rounder (used on Joel Freeland) to Utah for Carlos Arroyo.
- Detroit trades Carlos Arroyo and Darko Milicic to Orlando for an expiring contract (Kelvin Cato) and a future first rounder.
(In fairness, that later first was used to draft Rodney Stuckey. But the bigger point here is the dramatic lack of value attained from a number 2 pick in a powerhouse draft. Whoops.)
Despite his former status as the Human Victory Cigar (so called because he only came out when the game was all but over), Darko does have some skills, and always did. He can pass, he can post up, and he can look really pissed off all the time. He's also a good shotblocker, and a very effective post defender when he applies himself to the task and is motivated. Unfortunately, that's not every night.
Darko is not, and probably never will be, a great face-the-basket player. Chad Ford said he would be, but he never was; his jumpshot is mediocre, and his skillset is designed for interior play on both ends. Even then, his touch is unrefined, his moves not fluid, his jumpshot inaccurate, his free throws pretty shocking. He's also a pretty poor defensive rebounder, although that could just be an effort thing. Nonetheless, Milicic can contribute on both ends, between his shotblocking/interior defense and his Webber-like passing skills. (The previous overexaggeration is not mine.)
For some reason, lots of people dislike Darko. I've never figured out why this is. It probably has something to do with the underachievingness thing; however, if you hate Darko too, search the internet for the piece of footage in which Dikembe Mutombo tries to give Darko a stare down, and Darko burns him into the ground with merely his eyes (and his awesome combover that he had at the time). I can almost guarantee you will like him after this. It's fantastic, and an overlooked part of the multi-faceted Milicic legacy.
- 24th October, 2010.