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9.22.2012

Darko Milicic: A Draft Pick So Bad it Changed How the Pistons Conduct Background Checks



AUBURN HILLS -- After Darko Milicic bombed as the second pick in the 2003 NBA draft, Joe Dumars vowed he would never make a mistake like that again.

It changed the way the Detroit Pistons president of basketball operations prepares for draft day.



After selecting Connecticut big man Andre Drummond with the No. 9 overall pick in Thursday night's NBA draft, Dumars admitted the background check he did on Milicic was only a fraction of what the Pistons did before making their selection this year.

"I could give a dissertation on that," Dumars said shortly after selecting Drummond. "After I drafted Darko, from that point on, the amount of background we do on every single player that you see us draft is ridiculous. We do as much or more background than any other team in the NBA because of that.

"The background on (Milicic) was about 20 percent of what we do now. I look back on it now and realize you didn't know half of the stuff you needed to know."

Milicic arguably is the worst draft pick in Pistons' history.

The Pistons selected the 7-foot Serbian with the second pick in 2003, when Milicic was only 18 years old. He was taken behind LeBron James and immediately ahead of Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade.

Milicic never panned out in Detroit, playing just 96 games in 2 1/2 seasons before the Pistons dealt him to Orlando in February 2006.

In nine NBA seasons, Milicic has averaged 6.0 points and 4.2 rebounds with five teams.

"It's not just the questions you ask to (the player)," Dumars said. "It's the amount of people. With Darko, we may have had two sources of information. That was it. With this kid (Drummond), 10 (or) 12. We talked to literally everybody.

"George David (the Pistons' director of player personnel) talked to his sixth-grade teacher. That wasn't long ago. We talked to everybody. That's what we didn't do with Darko. We may have talked to a couple of guys over in Europe. That was it.

"From that moment on, I said that will never happen again. I'll never go into a draft not knowing everything I need to know."

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