Blame players as Pau Gasol and Dirk Nowitzki for the Milicic failure. Memphis and Dallas took a huge gamble in 1998 and 2001 respectively when they selected both big men in the draft. Gasol had played two years before in EBA Spanish basketball, something similar to fourth division and Nowitzki also wasn't part of any big team in the German league. A year before the draft, a skinny Gasol had huge success playing for FC Barcelona in ACB Spanish League, but even then he was considered a work in progress. In fact, some analysts in Spain even blamed his NBA experience for the lack of development of Gasol's fundamentals and three point shooting that he was learning in Spain. The truth is that the NBA has no time to develop players, that's the role of the NBDL or other leagues. That is why Fab Melo should spend some months in Maine to continue learning the game.
For every Gasol there is one Fran Vazquez (#11st, 2005) , for every Marcin Gortat (#57th, 2005) there is one Maciej Lampe (#30th, 2003). There is a huge risk in selecting big men in the draft, particularly when these players have little contact with the way basketball is played in the USA. There is a cultural change, a rule change and a general adjustment to be made for such young players. And it's also to be noted that big men need a lot of time to fully develop. Nobody thought Kendrick Perkins would be such a good player except probably Doc, who gave him much space and time to build into the player he is now. Players as Vazquez and Lampe are part of the elite of FIBA basketball nowadays, but they were simply not ready to be stars when they were selected in the draft.
Darko is only 27 and he already has stayed for 9 years in the league. Unlike other big men in the market (Eddy Curry, Erick Dampier anyone?) Milicic is still very young and can add something big if he buys into Doc's system which so far he shows he's done.
Doc and the rest of the team are trying to make Milicic forget about the lofty expectations of 2003 and concentrate on his role. If Darko fully buys into that consistently he will have a very high chance of reinventing himself and a final and vital chance to clean his image and regain part of the glory of with he dreamed in 2003. Playing in the rotation for the 2013 NBA champions will open the door so long ago shut for him in the NBA glory. After all, Carmelo Anthony (#3, 2003) still hasn't won an NBA title.
This time Darko Milicic is ready to be a good player in this league. Wearing Celtics green, ready for success to finally knock on his door.
Bohemian 10/09/2012 08:48:00 AM Tweet Edit