When there was an 18 year old prospect coming from Serbia, scouts and coaches are scrambling to take a glimpse of that phenom. One scout was noted as saying that this kid has the makings of the most dominant center in Europe since Arvydas Sabonis. An all-around shooter, who is a great passer, rebounds the ball with gusto and a great team player. Some would say he could go as high as Lebron James in the NBA draft.
Unfortunately Darko Milicic came out way short of everybody’s expectations. Although, the Detroit Pistons took him as their 2nd overall pick, higher than Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade. He was nothing but a big bust.
Darko just got back into basketball after retiring in 2013. He ventured into kickboxing and this one
Top European prospects usually are just too good to be true. Although there are exceptions such as Dirk Nowitzki, Pau Gasol, Vlade Divac, Deltef Schrempf, the late Drazen Petrovic and Arvydas Sabonis, but there are more with the likes of Darko, Andrea Bargnani, Andris Biedrins, Yaroslav Korolev, Nikoloz Tskitishvili, Frederic Weis and a lot more.
If you don’t know Frederic Weis, let me remind you this one.
Coming into the 2015 NBA draft, we got another top European prospect in Kristaps Porzingis. People would say that Kristaps has Dirk’s shooting touch and Pau’s knack for the ball game. He has Kobe’s work ethic and is projected to be on the top three in the draft. In other words another alarming sign of Darko 2.0.
At 7-foot-1 that plays as a small forward, Porzingis just changed the course of the NBA draft this Thursday. Kentucky’s Karl Towns is projected as the number one overall pick with Duke’s Center Jahlil Okafor second and Ohio State’s D’Angelo Russell at third. With Kristap’s convincing workout he could go as high as number 1 or 2 in the draft.
He has good shooting form, he can do step back shots with ease and he has good post moves. Watching the video excites me, it was like watching a young Dirk with a whole lot of post moves and quickness. But will Minnesota or the Lakers will take him all the way to number one or two? That won’t happen. Towns is the sure shot among all the other prospects as the number one pick and the Lakers will go for a safer pick in Okafor or Russell. Kristaps look so good on his workout that it scares most of the top teams in draft day. Ever since Darko people have been unforgiving and unreasonable. If Towns and Okafor failed to live up to expectations everyone will still be fine, but if Kristaps got to the top two in the draft and became a bust, expect a storm of criticism coming. That’s just the way it is for now.
The good thing about it is that Porzingis can change all that. He can be the light that all aspiring and talented European future players wish for. A light in every Darko as they say.
To be fair with Darko, he didn’t ask to be drafted to the number two overall pick. Nobody wanted to fail, it’s that simple. If we all know who and where the next Kobe or Lebron James would be then we don’t need a draft in that matter. Promising is synonymous to capable, and Darko just wasn’t capable to be really good. He was still a decent player but because of how people expected him to be, he wasn’t able to grow and live up to expectations.
All went downhill after his first game
Kristaps Porzingis, can be the next big thing coming out from Europe. His work ethic could be the x factor that could transform and transcend him into a franchise player. The blueprint on “how not to fail” has been laid out by Darko, Bargnani and Tskitishvili it’s up to him to put on the work.
Those long arms and superbly well shooting form is not a ready-made gift, it’s a product of hard work and countless of hours and sweat in the gym. For some reason he is not your typical soft and overvalued European prospect. Everybody has a chance.
And not everyone can be a 7-foot-1 small forward who can shoot the lights out.
Let’s Drink to that Darko…