One could argue Darko is the biggest NBA draft bust of the 21st century. Sure, there have been lottery catastrophes like Joe Alexander (Milwaukee, 8th, 2008) and Hasheem Thabeet (Memphis, 2nd, 2009), and of course the gold standard, Kwame Brown (Washington, 1st, 2001).
But here’s why Milicic should be the biggest bust: The Detroit Pistons passed on two future franchise players and another star to take the Serbian who never averaged more than 26 minutes a night in the NBA.
LeBron went first, then Darko, then Carmelo Anthony was grabbed by Denver, then Chris Bosh went to Toronto, and then D Wade went to Miami.
I love this argument from Detroit fans – but the Pistons won the title in 2004! And lost in the Finals in 2005! Short term, the draft pick didn’t really hurt Joe Dumars. Long term? They’ve missed the playoffs three years in a row, and haven’t won a playoff series since 2008.
Darko, 27, should be solid defensive insurance for Kevin Garnett inside, although one wonders what that means for rookie Fab Melo. Then again, the Timberwolves (Kahn!) gave Darko a 4-year, $20 million deal to pair Darko with Kevin Love … only to have Darko get beaten out (soundly) by someone named Nikola Pekovic.