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Should the Boston Celtics Be Interested in Darko Milicic?

July 18th, 2012 at 6:21 PM
By Will Clark

In the past few weeks those media sources that haven't been too busy covering the Boston Celtics' pursuit of Courtney Lee have reported Boston's apparent interest in Minnesota Timberwolves free agent center Darko Milicic. The former second overall pick in 2003 out of Serbia, Milicic has been perceived as one of the worst busts in NBA history during his largely fruitless eleven year career due to being selected before players like Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade, Amare Stoudemire and Chris Bosh. However the Celtics are still short on front court depth, a problem that has plagued them in recent seasons, so an argument could easily be made for Boston acquiring the wayward big man.

Why the Celtics Should Want Him

Sure Milicic has plenty of flaws, but if there is one thing that Celtic fans have learned the last few seasons is that you can't have too many big bodies. Last year Chris Wilcox and Jermaine O'Neal got hurt and the team fell apart every time Kevin Garnett went to the bench. In 2011 they traded Kendrick Perkins, then Jermaine and Shaquille O'Neal couldn't get healthy. In 2010 they almost made it through the whole year with their front court intact only to have Kendrick Perkins blow out his knee in Game Six of the NBA Finals. In 2009 Kevin Garnett and Leon Powe went down and that was it. Milicic will never live up to his billing as a number two overall pick. But as a backup center the Celtics could probably do worse, especially with the Timberwolves poised to prise Greg Stiemsma out of Boston. He can't really score, but he's a decent shot blocker and rebounder which is basically all the Celtics want out of a backup center. You can never have too many bigs and Milicic is an asset they could use.

Why They Shouldn't Want Him

Because it's Darko Milicic. Darko Milicic! Come on! This guy might be the worst bust in NBA history. At least Sam Bowie and Greg Oden can blame injuries for their crummy careers. Milicic's only excuse is that he's not a very good player. It's easy to argue that his been given a very raw deal, never really getting a chance to play in Detroit and Orlando and playing on terrible teams in Golden State, New York, and Minnesota. He's never averaged more than 25 minutes per game so he's hasn't really had a chance to do much at the NBA level. The bust label has followed him basically since the day he was drafted and he's never been able to shake it off. Many assume that there must be talent there because, if there wasn't, than why would the Piston's draft him? However, from this writers point of view, it was actually just a stupid pick by Joe Dumars, and the Celtics picking him up wouldn't be much smarter. The guy simply doesn't do anything well. He is awful in post up situations, gets pushed around down low, and his only value is as a shot blocker in help defense. The Celtics already have a veteran big on their bench in Chris Wilcox and have a few young bodies that are ready for big roles, namely Jared Sullinger and JaJuan Johnson. It's hard to believe that these three wont give them more than Milicic would. He would probably just get in the way, much like he has in his other eleven seasons in the league. The Celtics could still use another bench big. They need another shot blocker and rebounded with Stiemsma likely taking his talents to Minnesota. However is Darko Milicic really their best option? This writer doesn't think so.

Recommendation

As a backup center on a minimum deal this at least makes a little bit of sense. Again, you can never have too many big bodies, and Milicic is capable of at least blocking a few shots and grabbing a few rebounds. The whole "you can't teach size" school of thought is likely the only reason he is still in the league, and Boston can always use more size. However the Celtics have already taken their fair share of flyers on the players labeled "busts," and all it has really gotten them is a good idea as to why they earned that label. They took a shot at Michael Olowakandi, they tried to get something out of Shelden Williams, they are currently trying to find a way to wake up Sean Williams. None of these experiments have worked out. Plenty of other teams have tried their luck with Milicic, figuring that there must be a reason he was drafted so high, and have then sold him down the river as soon as they possibly could. Sure he's gotten a bit of a raw deal, and maybe "bust" is a harsh word, but you reap what you sew. He has been called a bust because that's what he is. Sure the Celtics could use another big body, but Milicic is not the one they want.

Tags: Basketball, Boston, Boston Celtics, Chris Wilcox, Darko Milicic, Kendrick Perkins, Kevin Garnett, Minnesota Timberwolves, NBA, Shaquille O'Neal

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