This Darko Thing Just Might Work Out


Nine years later, he is still only 27, and his reputation as an underachiever has been cemented. Milicic understands that stardom or even widespread respect probably never will come. At this point in his career, he just wants to be comfortable, appreciated, and not constantly reminded about 2003.

Milicic says he just wants to be accepted and allowed to be himself. He has a naturally shy demeanor, and the past nine years haven’t exactly helped him overcome his insecurities.

But the Celtics have welcomed him heartily. At Wednesday’s practice, Rivers joked with Milicic as he stood on the sideline, taking a break from the scrimmage, trying to get him more comfortable with the team concept. Milicic appreciated the gesture.

“Everybody is here for you. Everybody is sticking together, playing together, fighting for each other. That’s what the team is all about. “It’s not about one guy trying to make big money, a contract. Here they don’t care about that. “That’s what I see when I play against them and now that I’m here, that’s what it is.”

Milicic, who signed a one-year deal with the Celtics last month, needs only to come into games to spell Kevin Garnett — to rebound, play defense, and use his massive size (listed at 7 feet, 275 pounds) to his advantage. If he does that, he will have satisfied the Celtics’ requirements after spending the first nine years of his career leaving his teams and fans wanting more, much more.


First there was the picture of Darko laughing with KG (above). Then there was video of Darko playfully inserting himself between Celtics who were exchanging words. Now we have Doc making an effort to have the Dark Lord feel welcome.

I've been hot and cold with this acquisition. I'm rooting for him because of the name on the front of his jersey. It's the name on the back that left me hot and cold. One day I post reasons to like the signing, the next day the opposite. Somewhere in the middle I suggest at the very least the signing gives us comedy relief. Those days may be over for me. I may be ready to start the Darko Bandwagon in Beantown.

Here's why.

There's a way Doc and the C's could make this Darko thing work and any number of ways they could make it likely to fail. One sure fire way to make it fail is to try and let Darko find his way on his own, stumble and bumble, get down on himself, force him to figure out how to pick himself back up, and then see how he deals with being neglected and jerked around.

I don't know much. But I do know this. If you want the Darko Experiment to fail, well, folks, that's your recipe. As I've said in more than one post, Darko needs to feel like he belongs. He wants to feel like part of the team. He doesn't need to be Wilt. He's pretty much said that. Or, if he once harbored longings to be Wilt, he's replaced those with more humble, realistic expectations that should be easy for Doc and company to meet.

We are approaching mission accomplished on the belonging front.

The next thing that would be nice to happen, and, I realize this is a lot to ask, and hence why I probably won't mention it again unless it actually happens, is this:

Like the above passage hints, Doc should find a way to consistently use the Dark One as his primary back-up to KG, at least through the end of 2012. Yeah, I know. Small ball this, fast break that. Darko is 7-1, 300 pounds. How does that work out exactly?

I don't know.

But if your name is Doc or Danny and you hold any private dreams that Darko will (1) contribute down the stretch of this season; (2) play well enough to merit an invite back next year; and (3) occasionally be a difference maker in big games, well, dammit, figure out a way to send Darko a signal, and the signal is, hey, Serbian Gangster, if you make your best effort to fit in and stay in shape and show signs of the Darko from 2010-11, then you've found yourself a home, at least for the foreseeable future.

That's how you scratch Darko's back.

And, quite frankly, I think the brass at Waltham already know this.

I wouldn't even be surprised if our old friend Kurt Rambis has had a conversation with Doc or Danny, cuz it was Mr. Rambis who first made Darko feel wanted.


Lex said...

He's universally known by one name and, in the NBA, that is customarily seen as a sign of respect, esteem and achievement. Kobe is Kobe. LeBron is LeBron.

Over nearly a decade, Darko Milicic has been, simply, Darko, and not because of any All-Star résumé. He does have a championship ring from his rookie season as a Pistons benchwarmer. He can tell his grandchildren that he was drafted as an 18-year-old ahead of Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.

But that's pretty much where the good times end. In Darko's case, the moniker is due more to the unusual first name than to a raft of accomplishments. So his new coach felt it was time for a name change when Milicic's NBA odyssey brought him to Boston, his seventh team in 10 years.

"I tell him every day, 'You're no longer Darko. You're a Celtic,' Boston coach Doc Rivers said. "And one day, we asked him what his name was and he said, 'Celtic.' And everyone just started laughing. All I'm trying to do is get him to forget about trying to be something he isn't -- and just be someone for the team."

Lex said...

f yeah!!!

Doc is a freakin' genius!!!!!!!!!!!!

Lex said...

Rivers added, "He's got a lot of stuff on his shoulders and we're trying to unload all of that. You go in front of Carmelo and all you're going to do is hear that. That can get old. We're trying to get him to move out of that."

Lex said...

Rivers said he talked to a number of Milicic's former coaches


Kurt Rambis, anyone???!!!

Lex said...

"Look, everyone's tried. If it works here, it works. If it doesn't, it doesn't. But we're going to give it a good try" Rivers said.


Amen, brutha

Lex said...

Toward that end, Rivers not only will use the many motivational tools at his disposal, but also will call on Milicic's new teammates for assistance. In particular, the voluble veteran, Kevin Garnett.

The Celtics center/forward already has worked with the big men in camp. Garnett has a reputation for being able to help underachieving or simply raw big men, with one important proviso: that they listen to him. And listening to Garnett can be an ear-burning, humbling experience in terms of volume, intensity, tone, eye contact and, of course, word choice.

"I'm excited to learn from him, but I'm excited to learn from everybody else, too,'' Milicic said of Garnett.

Garnett said he has been a Milicic fan for a long time and that he was eager to introduce the center to the so-called "Celtic Way." He sees what Danny Ainge saw when Ainge made the offer (a one-year deal) to Milicic. He sees what Rivers sees. There is talent in there.



If the ticket is on board, fans, well, we've moved the needle considerably!!!

Lex said...

"Right now, he probably lacks a little bit of self-confidence,'' Garnett said. "And I will help with that. I'll do as much as I can to influence him and encourage him. But it's going to take something from him, too. He's never been around a team like this. He's never been around guys like this. He's never been in a situation where there is so much energy and encouragement."

Lex said...

How 'bout that, gang???

Lex said...

"They [the Timberwolves] thought it was my mistake in getting in trouble with the coach. I don't really feel that it was all my mistake,'' he said. "We didn't have any communication. Things I find out, I find out in the newspaper and the media. I find out I'm not going to start. I find out I might not play. I find out I'm not in good shape. I think we are grown men. We should talk. And we didn't."

Milicic said he felt he was expected to apologize to the players and coaching staff over the summer. But he balked at that, saying, "I didn't feel like it was only my mistake. I couldn't do it. It's not fair how they talk about how I was so negative."


Darko is a sensitive guy.

He's been mocked everywhere he's gone.

You don't set him up for success by kicking him in the balls, and, then, when he bends over, driving a fork up his ass.

FLCeltsFan said...

Excellent! Very excellent!! And even better. There's a reason I wait to read your site until I have time to read and mull your every word!!!

My favorite part was when he told Doc his name was Celtic! Now that's conditioning LOL.

Sounds like it's working out just fine.

Lex said...

Your name is Celtic.

Almost code like a bond movie.

In fact, if this does work out, I can see a post in mid-spring entitled "Your Name is Celtic"


FLCeltsFan said...

This is some pretty exciting stuff. Yep. It might just work out. Darko may have found a home with the Celtic faithful.

FLCeltsFan said...

chuckle. And Darko will never be the same.

Lex said...

Maybe he just needed some love

FLCeltsFan said...

Don't we all :)

Lex said...

sometime next week I will post something from Rambis where he reached the same conclusion

FLCeltsFan said...

Garnett, who is as competitive as they come, had to love what he saw. His teammates, which were the regular starters plus Jeff Green, Jason Terry and Darko Milicic, played well. Likewise, the third unit, performed at a high level and was able to win half of the games in the series.

Game 2 – 6 minutes

The first-second unit must have been motivated from that loss in Game 1, because it came back strong in Game 2. Boston’s top players won the second contest by a score of 12-8, and Milicic shined toward the end of the matchup by successfully defending guard Dionte Christmas on the perimeter, then blocking his shot attempt, to seal the win.

Lex said...


Thanks fcf!

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