Sunday, November 27, 2005

On Friday night, the Pistons lost in double overtime at home to the Wizards, 120-114. Darko had the best seat in the house, as he watched the entire game from the bench without getting one second of playing time.

On Saturday night in Washington, the story was a bit different. Darko played about ten minutes, contributing another two blocks, and the Detroit won 85-76 over the Bucks. According to the Detroit News, Darko actually had four blocks in a single possesion! From coach Flip Saunders: "I know one thing, the guy here can't count blocks."

These events lead me to think about a couple of things. Darko has been benched three times this season, and the Pistons have gone 2-1 in those games. In games in which Darko has received playing time, Detroit has gone an amazing 8-1. The only possible logical conclusion that you can draw from these numbers is that Detroit is a helluva lotta better team with Darko in the lineup.

Another thing to cinsider it the way Darko has been piling up stuffs. On a blocks per-48 minutes basis, Darko is third in the entire NBA with 6.52! Just imagine how high that number would be if all of Mr. Milicic's blocks were actually recorded on the scoresheet!

Next stop is New Jersey on Wednesday. Vince Carter had better not get any ideas about going up the middle, or he may well find his Vinsanity swatted away by the ever-ready Serbian gangster!

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Last night? Detroit 114, Denver 89. Darko? 9 minutes of garbage time. Let's not worry about any aspects of his performance other than the fact that he managed to get THREE BLOCKS IN LESS THAN 10 MINUTES!! Combine this with the fact that he got a technical for mixing it up with DeMarr Johnson (an incident in which Francisco Elson also earned himself a T).

What does this tell us? It tells us that Darko is a tough-ass Serbian gangster stuff machine! Don't mess with this guy.

In other news, there have been rumours of a possbile trade between Detroit and Minnesota that would send Kevin Garnett to the Pistons and Darko and Rasheed to the Timberwolves. Whoa whoa whoa, stop the presses. How unfair of trade would that be? One of the biggest future superstars in the NBA, along with a very serviceable player in Wallace, for a guy whose name is an anagram for "RENT-A-VET KING"? PUHLEEZE.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Well, the Pistons' streak is now over, and boy, did it ever come to a screeching halt. The Mavericks won on Saturday night by a score of 119-82. Detroit got shellacked.

The good news, of course, is that the huge loss allowed our man Darko Milicic to get a fair bit of playing time, which is almost more important than the actual outcome of the game. Mr. Milicic got something more than five minutes in during the first half, when the Motowners were still in the game, and something more than ten minutes in near the end of the game, when all hope had been lost, for a total of just about sixteen minutes.

Darko had a fairly unremarkable game this time around, going 2 for 4 from the field for four points, blocking a shot, and picking up four fouls. One thing about Darko is that he seems to be able to pick up those PFs in a hurry. Anyway, the important thing is that he got a a bit of a run in. Extended stretches of playing time are always welcome in Darko Nation.

Meanwhile, the Dikembe-Darko confrontation from Friday night has been mentioned in a few papers, including the Dallas Morning News, and Darko seems to be getting some props for not backing down from Motumbo. Here is the blurb from the Detroit News:

The Pistons were impressed with Darko Milicic on Friday. In the second quarter,
he got entangled with Dikembe Mutombo. Mutombo stuck a finger in Milicic's face.
Milicic never backed off. He then went on to block two shots, one of them
Mutombo's. "I'm telling you, Darko is a Serbian gangster," Rasheed Wallace said.
"Darko's got some bodies back there (in Serbia-Montenegro). He can go psycho on

Keep it up, Darko!

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Well, the Pistons rolled along to their eighth straight victory, beating the Rockets by a score of 78-70. Darko got about five and a half minutes of non-garbage time, and while he didn't score any baskets, he did manage to show some aggressiveness in giving Dikembe Motumbo a fairly hard foul and then following it up by blocking one of Motumbo's shots. Some message board users were clearly happy to see this sequence of events play out. Darko also managed to block another shot during his playing time.

Once Darko starts getting some real minutes, it looks as though he will be ready to do a good job on both ends of the floor. This guy is going to be something big.

Tonight, Darko leads the Pistons into Dallas, where they are hopefully going to get Win Number 9 and put that Mark Cuban into a sour mood.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Well, Darko managed to get in some first half playing time against Boston on Tuesday night, but he was pulled after four minutes in favour of Antonio McDyess, apparently because his defense wasn't quite up to snuff against Al Jefferson. He also got another garage-time minute in at the end of the game, scoring the team's last basket of the night.

The good news? Darko managed to grab three total rebounds, matching his season-high and establishing a new season high for offensive boards, with two. He also doubled his previous season-high in points with four! At that pace, Darko would grab 29 rebounds and score 38 points over the course of a full game of 48 minutes. That would have been more than enough to offset any defensive shortcomings he may have demonstrated against All Jefferson, who has only ever managed to score 19 points (one ha lf of 38!) only once in his entire career.

Come on, Flip... give Darko the entire second quarter against Houston on Friday and see what he can do. Given enough time to get his motor running, Darko may well make mincemeat out of Yao!

Monday, November 14, 2005

Well, both the Detroit News and the Detroit Free Press have articles this morning about the lack of playing time for some of the players, Darko in particular.

The News headline is: "Saunders: Bench players deserve game time
Coach vows to make better use of Darko and others to give starting five additional rest."
and the Free Press headline is: "PISTONS CORNER: Saunders looking to play Milicic, Delfino ".

Apparently, Coach Flip thinks that Ben Wallace got pretty fatigued with the back-to-back games against the Suns and the Blazers, and has stated "Darko's going to get back in there... He had some bad matchup situations (against Phoenix and Portland)." He's promising to get Darko some playing time early in tomorrow night's game against Boston, probably in the first quarter.

Flip, we in Darko Nation are hoping that you hold true to your word! Don't let us down by not playing Darko... he certainly won't let you down if you do play him!

Saturday, November 12, 2005

So, were you too busy to catch Darko in action against the Trailblazers tonight? Have no fear, the DarkoRules blog has a replay available for you. Just stare at the picture at left for exactly 48 minutes and you will have basically recreated the experience. (The pic is actually from a previous season, but it may as well have been taken tonight.) Yes, Darko sat on the bench for a SECOND STRAIGHT GAME. So much for getting playing time in the second half of the back-to-backer.

Detroit won the game and is still undefeated, and that is a good thing, but there is a huge problem with Darko's DNP. Try as I might, I could not muster up my usual silver lining for this game. Milicic got dissed, pure and simple. Flip is possibly turning into the second coming of Larry Brown (although he is still undefeated at 6-0 following tonight's win, while Brown is 0-5 following tonight's loss).

Joe Dumars, it's time to have a sit-down chat with Flippy and make sure all of that talk about playing Darko wasn't lip service. The future of the franchise is at stake here!

Friday, November 11, 2005

Yet another good news-bad news post today.

The Pistons managed to fend off the Suns last night, winning 111-104, to improve their record to 5-0 and remain the NBA's only undefeated team. Naturally, one might think that Darko had a major contribution, scoring in the neighbourhood of 20 points, grabbing maybe 10 rebounds, and blocking half a dozen shots or so. WRONG! Darko sat on his butt for the ENTIRE game for the first time this season. Flip had the super Serb ride the pines and never got him off the bench.

Would the margin of victory have been greater if Milicic had played? Very possibly, but we will never know, thanks to Flip. On the bright side, last night's game was the first half of a back-to-backer. The Pistons are in Portland tonight, and suggests that Darko will likely play this evening. From http:// :

"With tonight being a back-to-back for Detroit, Pistons coach Flip Saunders anticipates playing Darko Milicic who did not play (coaches decision) on Thursday.

Saunders has talked with Milicic, as well as Carlos Delfino, about not playing as much as they would like to. The talks have centered around letting them know that even though their minutes have been limited, they still have considerable value to the team and the organization. "

The article goes on to quote Saunders as being pro-active and having an open door policy for players to come talk to him about matters such as playing time. That's all well and good, Flippy, but if superstars like the Darkomeister still wind up on the bench, then you can talk until the cows come home and it won't make a bit of difference!

To Flip's credit, he has been somewhat generous with his playing time to this point and has certainly been far more accommodating than was Mr. Brown... but if Darko doesn't see a good amount of playing time on the Rose Garden's basketball floor this evening, Saunders is in for a blog-flogging!

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Darko Milicic stayed with Detroit this season. His good friend, Larry Brown, decided to go to New York to try his hand at coaching the Knicks. Who is doing better these days?

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Well, Darko and the Pistons rolled to another comfortable victory last night, winning 102-88 over fellow Serb Peja Stojakovic and the Sacramento Kings.

Darko managed to get 6 minutes of playing time and did not have a remarkable showing, but he did manage to score two points for the fourth straight game. What does this tell us? Darko is the NBA's Mr. Consistency! You can give him the rock and know what to expect. His production has not let up once this season.

As the season rolls along and Darko gets more comfortable with regular playing time, you can bet that his production will start ratcheting up nicely.

Next up: Steve Nash and the Phoenix Suns on Thursday night, in what promises to be a great game.

Monday, November 07, 2005

So what exactly does an up-and-coming NBA millionaire superstar do on off days like today? Apparently, Darko likes to paint Bobbleheads, or at least he did back in his blonde days. Hmm...

Sunday, November 06, 2005

As expected, the Pistons completely thrashed the Raptors last night, winning 117-84. Darko managed to get his most significant amount of playing time thus far in the season with 15:46 of playing time, but he only contributed 2 points to the big total.

This was the first Pistons game that I managed to see on TV this season. Milicic did not look out of place on the court, but did not seem to have the type of boundless energy I was expecting him to display. As I have read in the press and on message forums, Darko was very quick to pick up other players' men on defense, and I am not certain if that is a bad thing or a good thing.

Probably the biggest problem with the game last night was that it must have reminded Milicic of the type of playing time he had over the last two seasons. Darko got into a bit of a funk because he was used to going in during garbage time... well, against the Raptors, pretty well THE ENTIRE GAME WAS GARBAGE TIME. Detroit led wire to wire and almost seemed bored against the hapless Raptors.

Toronto is a garbage team right now, with young players, a dumbass coach and they make silly quotes. A writer for the Toronto Star has recently suggested that coach Sam Mitchell may be a far overmatched incompetent in the eyes of his peers, and I don't have trouble believing that. The Raptors had only managed to put up 9 points in the second quarter of their Friday game against the Nets, and a quote was displayed on the screen from one of the Toronto players saying something to the effect of "you can't win in the NBA by scoring 9 points in a quarter." Well, golly gee, here I was sitting in my living room thinking that you could win in the NBA by scoring 9 points in a quarter.

The big positive from last night's game from Darko's perspective is the nice new slicked-backed gelled hairstyle that I got to see for the first time. That haircut screams MVP! By moving away from the blonde dye jobs, Darko is letting us know that he has big plans for this season!

Darko's next victims: The Sacramento Kings on Tuesday night (Nov. 8). It was a bit Crass of Shaq to call them the "Sacramento Queens" a season or two ago, but that's just how they'll look when Darko strolls into town and does his thing!

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Well, the good news from last night's game is that the Pistons eaked out an 82-81 win over the Boston Celtics last night and Darko actually got some first half playing time. The bad news is that that time consisted of only 3 minutes and 54 seconds.

Having not seen the game, I can see that the stat line shows a second straight game of nothing but one-sies and two-sies. Darko went 1 for 1 from the field, had 1 defensive rebound, 1 total rebound, 1 steal, 2 personal fouls, 1 turnover, and 1 block.

The fact that he had two fouls in such a short amount of time suggests that he is still playing with a bit of hyperactivity, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. The one silver lining that we can take away from this is the fact that Darko is still leading the league with a 100% field goal percentage!

How are the other 2003 draftees doing in FG%?
LeBron: 50.0%
Carmelo: 46.8%
Dwyane Wade: 54.3%
Chris Bosh: a measly 37.9%

What does this tell us? Darko is shooting at least twice as well as any of the other top five picks in the 2003 NBA entry draft!! Take that, naysayers!

The Pistons are playing Toronto tonight. It looks as if the Raptors are quite a poor team this season, so Darko should have a great chance to feast on some dinosaur tonight. Tear them apart, big man!

Thursday, November 03, 2005

"Larry Brown wants you!" ... to stop making fun of him for losing last night.

Since I didn't get to see last night's game, I had a bit of a look at what sportswriters had to say about Darko's performance:

Michael Rosenberg of the Detroit Free Press:

"In the first half, Darko played five minutes. He did not stand out, but he didn't embarrass himself, either. Darko's problem is that he's like a Doberman who just got out of the kennel -- running like crazy, trying to block every shot in sight, the way Dobermans do when they play basketball. He must learn to pick his spots. But he will."

Bob Cook from MSNBC:
"OK, he only scored 2 points, and he looked lost sometimes on defense, jumping away from his man too quick to help out on Allen Iverson, but by golly, the man finally gets to play!"

From the sounds of things, Darko is playing with a good amount of enthusiasm, which counters some of the knocks that he has received in the past about going into games with an uninspired attitude... I guess that happens when you get a chance to play something other than garbage time!

One of the other satisfying developments last night was that Larry Brown lost in his coaching debut for the Knicks. Flip, 1-0. Larry, 0-1. Nice!
Well, the Flip Saunders-Darko Milicic era is off to a roaring start! Detroit handily beat Philly by a score of 108-88 earlier tonight and Flip already has his first win as head coach of the Pistons under his belt.

As for our man Darko, his stats line shows a night of one-sies and two-sies. In his 8 minutes and 29 seconds of playing time, he went 1 for 1 from the field, had 2 defensive rebounds, 2 total rebounds, 1 steal, 1 turnover, and 1 blocked shot.

All of those 1's and 2's do not make for NBA numbers just yet, and I have not yet seen Milicic's lone bucket, but we can take heart in the fact that he is currently tied for the league lead in field goal percentage with a perfect value of 100%!

Next stop: Boston on Friday night. Upward and onward!

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Hey Darko! Both Uncle Sam and former Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien "want you" to play well on the basketball court this evening, when the Pistons open the season against the 76ers. Good luck, big guy!

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Hello everyone. On the eve of opening of the 2005-2006 NBA regular season, my Darko Milicic blog is open for business. I have decided to chronicle Darko’s progress as he takes what is likely to be his first real shot at showing his stuff.

For those of you who are not familiar with Darko, he is the player who has probably been dumped on in the sports media. Prior to coming to the NBA, Darko was a teenaged baller in Serbia. He began receiving a fair bit of hype, included that provided by’s Chad Ford in this glowing January 2003 article about the then 17-year-old.

When it came to draft time in June of 2003, Detroit Pistons GM Joe Dumars was sufficiently impressed with Milicic to draft him in the second spot overall.

The overall top 5 picks were as follows:

1. LeBron James, Cleveland
2. Darko Milicic, Detroit
3. Carmelo Anthony, Denver
4. Chris Bosh, Toronto
5. Dwyane Wade, Miami

Anyone that follows the NBA in any capacity is aware that the other four players on this list have made significant contributions in their two years in the league (LeBron's no. 1 selection was a foregone conclusion years before Draft Day came along), while Darko has done basically nothing. Under the coaching of Larry Brown, Darko has ridden the pines and generally only been given playing time in the closing minutes of games in which the Pistons have built insurmountable leads, which has given rise to the nickname “The Human Victory Cigar”. Dumars’ wisdom in choosing the young Serb has been questioned time and again, and the consensus opinion has been that Darko was a wasted pick.

I am of the opinion that Darko has really not yet been given a chance. A look at the total minutes played over the last two seasons of players mentioned above bears evidence of this:

LeBron – 6,510
Carmelo – 5,603
Bosh – 5,527
Wade – 5,100
Darko – 413

Darko has played less than 1/12th the minutes of the next-lowest guy on the list!!! He has not been given any kind of chance to show what he has to offer!!!

Combine this with the fact that Darko is the youngest of the five and was a teenager less than six months ago, and it’s not hard at all to make a case that it is way too early to give up on him.

With the arrival of Flip Saunders to replace Brown as head coach, Darko has been all but promised a much more regular amount of playing time. He has already shown a few signs of shaking off the “bust” tag. His showing this pre-season was, by most accounts, promising. His pre-season stats suggest that he can indeed score points (7.9 per game average), rebound (4.9 average), and block shots (2.88 average) if given a chance.

Most naysayers will suggest that the pre-season competition is far inferior that which takes place in the regular season, so it remains to be seen if Darko whether or not he will continue to make progress once the games count for something.

Although not technically true, Darko is only now getting his first chance to be a rookie. Will he be a superstar? A serviceable player? A bust? I have no idea, but I we are about to find out.