Thursday, February 16

Turn Back the Clock

"He'd be perfect for us. Perfect. The thing I like about kids like this is they only have one agenda, and that's to play.”
-Jon Barry

And that's how it began. A scrappy, eighteen year old Serbian seven-footer with a dream. A dream to play 553 minutes over three and one half seasons. A dream to practice with the best team in the league and keep the bench warm for a roster of consisting of six all-stars and a Finals MVP. A dream to be a champion.

"That kid can play. Too bad he can't suit up tonight."
-Richard Hamilton on Darko

That's right Rip, it is too bad. It's too bad that Larry Brown, the master of nonsense lineup shuffles, couldn't find court time for a player with so much upside, length, and dynamacy.

"He is quick, with a great understanding of the game (he is smart as a fox)"
-NBA Draftnet

Well, perhaps we have underestimated his sneakiness. One of the things that remains about Darko is that he is still a relative unknown in the league. We know a bit about what he can contribute to garbage time, take for example his line from the January 14th game vs. Chicago: 6 minutes, 0-0 shooting, 1 board, 3 assists (nice), and 2 fouls. He may be smart, but he's no Shavlik Randolph. Frankly, I doubt Darko has ever considered robbing a Miller truck. Fortunately, the Pistons did a solid job of showcasing young Darko over the past two months, where he put together 6-7 from the floor in a stratospheric 25 minutes.

"That's a freak of nature right there”
-Joe Dumars on Darko

And Joe stands by that to this day. Good thing, because it's tough to squeeze a first round pick out of Orlando without tremendous PR. Have fun with Stevie, you could be the next Cuttino Mobley. Or the next Christian Laettner, if you play your cards right.

It's too early to pass judgment on the trade, but whether you love Darko or you love to laugh at him, this is a boon for his minutes. So the fans win big, which is a first in Orlando. As for the Pistons, I think it's tough to sleight them given they won a championship and made it to another. Give them a player with known talent (Wade, Carmelo, Bosh- your pick), could they have done much better? It's difficult to imagine Larry giving any of these guys run, and in the end maybe the fans and the league would have been worse off for missing out on player who's position the league tailors to. Maybe Dave Stern and Paul Tagliabue got together and said "things are going okay, but what we'd really like is if we could skew the rules completely in favor of shooting guards and wide receivers." You know, take the most athletic players on the field, then make things a little easier for them. Interesting that the rule in both sports is approximately "a penalty should be assessed if the defender considers thinking about impeding the progress of the stronger, faster offensive player.

How does it end for Darko? As Joe Dumars says: "Darko is a young player and I think he's going to get an opportunity to play," which is more than he ever had in Detroit. However the dice fall for Milicic, here's to hoping that he doesn't do much to spoil one of the best nicknames of the modern era, "The human victory cigar." Smoke em if you got em, Detroit.

1 comment:

z said...

darko may be an nba chump thus far, but he's got a ring. ask barkley to trade careers, and you'd give him pause for thought.