Where's Darko? With Waldo? - Roberto Serra/Iguana Press
The Celtics could use a legit backup center. We thought they signed one with Darko, but so far he's MIA.
Well, that's not entirely accurate. They do have a seven footer in Jason Collins (the walking afterthought), Fab Melo (packing for Maine shortly), and then they have the internet legend Darko Milicic. Of the mentioned names, Milicic would seem to have the best skillset and opportunity to contribute. You might even argue that he's got a higher ceiling than Wilcox. But, ...and there's always a but with Darko... for some reason he's not seeing the floor.
The common excuse that some fans are pinning their hopes on is the wrist. He hurt it in the preseason and has seen limited time ever since.
Physically, all 7 feet and 275 pounds of Darko Milicic sits on the end of the bench this season, his ailing wrist often wrapped in tape or a soft cast.
So, maybe the wrist still bothers him. Or maybe C’s coach Doc Rivers considers him a liability. After all, when the Bucks owned the Celtics in the paint during the second game of the season, Rivers turned to Darko, who committed as many turnovers as he totaled rebounds, blocks and personal fouls in five short minutes.
Five minutes isn't a lot to go on but when Wilcox is filling up box scores (in a good way) in his limited minutes, it is hard to justify giving his minutes to Darko.
Still, it has to be more than just the games. And if Darko is healthy enough to see game action, there's a good chance that he's physically able to play. So perhaps Doc is seeing something that we don't have access to from our couches. That seems to be the consensus of the scribes that have (limited) access to practices and have an ear to the ground in the lockerroom.
After praising Milicic during training camp, Rivers hasn’t said much about him lately. When asked Friday if playing Milicic could solve the Celtics’ problems without Garnett, Rivers replied, "It could, but he has to earn it." Apparently, Milicic hasn’t produced in practice. Unfortunately, the Celtics have become the latest team to grow disenchanted with him.
Is it too early to write off Darko? You betcha. Is it possible that Darko isn't giving the right kind of effort or simply isn't good enough to earn playing time? Yep.
Is it a huge stretch of the imagination to picture some kind of attitude problem or outburst that is being kept under wraps for the sake of the team? Nope. And there's the rub with Darko. You just never know with him.
Hopefully he's just a little dinged up and working to earn that elusive playing time. Hopefully. Or if not, he's on a minimum contract and you never know who might show up off the waiver wire. Darko was always a low-cost-gamble. Either he'll work out, or he won't.