A roster of Wolves: Darko Milicic

Benjamin Polk —  May 13, 2012 — 6 Comments

By way of reviewing this strange season, we here at A Wolf Among Wolves are going down the Wolves roster, discussing each individual player’s season and their outlook for the future. We’ll start with the man in the suit, Darko Milicic.

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Back in October, while we were all still whiling away the lockout, I had this to say about Darko:

He is well over seven feet tall; he has supple feet; he handles the ball with rare ease. Unfortunately, he also seems intimidated by his own gifts and desperately afraid to succeed. We’ve seen too many dunks turned into layups, too many blown three foot jump hooks, too many looks of resigned relief as he settles down on the bench to believe otherwise. I’ve said it before: playing with Rick Adelman, a coach who loves those skilled, finesse Euro big men, seems like Darko’s last chance.

I’ll stand behind every word of that paragraph. Because despite Darko’s customarily great moments, moments that give you just a brief glimpse at what could be possible–his first half in Los Angeles against the Clippers comes to mind–this very large, very talented man clearly blew that chance. His PER was 9.0, his worst since he was a teenager, and three points below his already modest career average. He posted a true shooting rate of .458, embarrassingly bad for a center. His rebounding rate of 11.4 was also, as has been typical, far below average. As always, he blocked a shot or two (1.9 per 36 minutes); but even this was drop from his career numbers. Furthermore, his shot-blocking stats have always papered over the inconsistency of his defensive effort, a fact that was no less true this season.

The sad truth is that Darko has never been able to summon the consistent effort or focus or confidence necessary to be an effective NBA player, much less live up to his talents. And while Kurt Rambis (perhaps tantalized by the glow of those talents or, more likely, simply responding to a mandate from higher up the chain) persisted in giving Darko floor time, Rick Adelman, to his credit wasn’t having it. Here’s what Adelman told the Strib in March:

He hasn’t done anything to really give you a lot of faith that he’s going to go out and do the job. He’s gotten himself out of shape. He hasn’t been as drive (sic) as you’d like so when a situation like this happens, it’s time for someone to have their opportunity and get back in there.

Even when Nikola Pekovic and Kevin Love went down and the Wolves were seriously thin on the front line, Darko Milicic remained suited on the bench’s second row. The team can opt out of his contract a year from now, but I would be surprised if we ever see the man in a Wolves’ uniform again.

Benjamin Polk

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6 responses to A roster of Wolves: Darko Milicic

  1. Think he’ll be amnestied? Is that a word?

  2. Benjamin Polk May 14, 2012 at 2:52 pm

    That’s my guess, but of course I have no idea what Kahn et al are planning.

  3. There wasn’t much of an offseason last year. You’d think that with a full year under his belt, Adelmen will have a larger voice on, at least, the current players on the roster. He seems like he can look past all the potential (Randolph, Darko, etc.) and can tell who should and should not be on the roster. Let’s hope.

  4. Kahhhhnnnnnnnnnn …Didn’t he say something along the lines of Darko is a future all-star at the center position when he signed him to that deal? God

  5. Darko was really only good against Blake Griffin, as he was one of the few centers who actually handled him. Otherwise, his hookshots are weak, he doesn’t dunk (which is sad because he injures himself on simple plays). I hoped he would be good, but if Adelman is really going to play a role, its time to kiss this Serbian bye-bye.

  6. Now the Timberwolves didn’t draft Darko; that was the Pistons. How different could things have been? Reading over at 82games.com (http://82games.com/bestnbadraftyear.htm), I was reminded that also available at #2 in 2003 were: Carmelo, Bosh, and Wade. Ouch.

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