Darko: What Happened Last Year?
December 21, 2011
With Timberwolves forward Kevin Love projected to see time at center this season and coach Rick Adelman touting a "small ball" rotation at point guard featuring Ricky Rubio, J.J. Barea and Luke Ridnour, Darko Milicic knows his role on the team is changing.
Milicic, who started 69 games last season at center, is taking steps to fit in as best he can with Adelman's system - for the sake of winning.
"It's not right for me to talk about wanting to do this or do that," Milicic said after Tuesday's practice at Target Center. "This is my ninth year (in the NBA). It's about going out there to do what you need to do to help the team win. I'm not going to complain."
Milicic had career highs last season in scoring (8.8 points per game), rebounding (5.2) and minutes (24.4). He ranked fifth in the NBA in blocked shots (2.03). The way Adelman is setting up his offense, Milicic might have a hard time matching those numbers.
When the Minnesota Timberwolves signed Darko to a 4-year deal in 2010, Kurt Rambis was the head coach. Coming from the Lakers, Rambis' teams played a more traditional style, and that style included a big-man in the pivot. That explains why Darko saw more playing time, and posted career highs in minutes played, points per game, rebounds per game, and blocks. Darko also benefited from having Bill Laimbeer on the team. Laimbeer had been a Darko fan and supporter since he was originally drafted by the Pistons in 2003.
But then the Timberwolves replaced Rambis with Rick Adelman, and Adelman took the team in a different direction. This article makes it sound like Adelman's distaste for the Serbian big man was quite strong.
And as that article also states, Doc and Danny will give Milicic the same opportunity they gave former first round picks Patrick O'Bryant, Robert Swift and Michael Sweetney. We'll see if Darko can make more of the opportunity he is given by the Celtics than his recent predecessors.
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