I’m hesitant to ever call someone like Darko Milicic a savior to a franchise, but he could be at least everything the Celtics need. In their pursuit of Nicolas Batum, the Timberwolves have amnestied Milicic, and he could come cheap to whomever attempts to sign the once highly regarded prospect.
With a depleted front line, the Celts were forced into starting Kevin Garnett at center last year in the Playoffs. The other options were Ryan Hollins or the athletically challenged Greg Stiemsma. Both were stop gap centers, and while I’m not saying Milicic is worlds better — he is better.
Darko has had a disappointing career, to be sure, after being selected ahead of Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh. Somehow, Milicic went #2 in that loaded ’03 Draft class, and Joe Dumars has been shaking his head in remorse ever since.
But what Darko still is is a 7-footer, a valuable body in the NBA, someone that can bang, block a couple shots, and grab some rebounds. Doesn’t that sound like something the Celts could use? I would say so.
How much could Milicic command on the open market? That’s anyone’s guess. Centers always come at a premium, and even Kwame Brown received $9 Million last year from the Warriors. That could be a worry for Ainge, but something tells me Darko won’t be all that courted. He has limited upside and is a guy who is going to expect minutes. The thing is, the Celtics could give him those minutes, and he could be a useful reserve to the tune of 20 minutes per night.
Again: I’m not suggesting Darko will save the franchise, but he definitely fills some desperate needs. Any center that can block shots and shoot the ball a little (Darko has a nice mid range jumper, actually) has a place in the NBA. We’ll see if Boston just might be that place for him.