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Darko Miličić
New York Knicks  – No. 31
Center/power forward
Born June 20, 1985 (1985-06-20) (age 24)
Novi Sad, Serbia, Yugoslavia
Nationality Serbia Serbian
Listed height 7 ft 0 in (2.13 m)
Listed weight 275 lb (125 kg; 19.6 st)
League NBA
Salary $7,540,000[1]
Draft 2nd overall, 2003
Detroit Pistons
Pro career 2001–present
Former teams Hemofarm (2001–2003)
Detroit Pistons (2003–2006)
Orlando Magic (2006-2007)
Memphis Grizzlies (2007–2009)
Awards 2001 European Cadet Champion
2002 Under-20 World Champion
1x NBA Champion (2004)
Profile Info Page

Darko Miličić (Serbian: Дарко Миличић; born June 20, 1985, in Novi Sad, Serbia, Yugoslavia) is a Serbian professional basketball player who is a member of the New York Knicks, the fourth NBA team for which he has played in his career. He was selected by the Detroit Pistons as the second overall pick in the 2003 NBA Draft, but never received significant playing time during his 2½ seasons with the team. He was traded to the Orlando Magic in 2006, then signed with the Memphis Grizzlies in 2007. As of the end of the 2008-09 NBA season, he held career NBA averages of 5.5 points per game and 4.0 rebounds per game.

Contents

Professional career

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Detroit Pistons

Unlike most teams with high draft picks, the Pistons were a good team that made the Eastern Conference Finals the season before. They held the pick because of a trade that had been made with the Vancouver Grizzlies in 1996. Miličić saw limited playing time during his tenure with the Pistons, but did become the youngest player to appear in an NBA Finals game (18 years and 356 days) when the Pistons defeated the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2004 NBA Finals.[2]

Under coach Larry Brown (2003-2005), Miličić only played when the Pistons had an insurmountable lead late in the game. Pistons team president Joe Dumars repeatedly stated that Miličić would play a big part in the team's future, but he did not see a large increase in playing time during his second season. Miličić has been quoted on numerous occasions as attributing his slow development on his lack of playing time; "I've said it 10,000 times, the best way for me to improve is to play. All the work in practice and individual workouts can only help me so much."[3]

After Brown's departure, Flip Saunders was hired as head coach of the Pistons. It was expected that Miličić would see more playing time due to Saunders's track record of developing young players such as Kevin Garnett and Stephon Marbury. With Elden Campbell no longer on Detroit's roster and Dale Davis brought in as a mentor, most NBA experts believed that Miličić would see considerably more minutes this season as the Pistons' full-time backup center behind Ben Wallace. While Miličić played well in the NBA's summer leagues and earned the praise of his teammates, little changed in the first half of the 2006 season. Under Saunders, Miličić still averaged only 5.6 minutes per game, and received significant playing time only in blowout wins or blowout losses for the Pistons. Miličić's lack of playing time in Detroit was frequently highlighted in publications like ESPN The Magazine and Sports Illustrated. He later questioned whether the Pistons should have drafted him.[4]

Orlando Magic

On February 15, 2006, just prior to the NBA's All-Star break, Miličić was traded, along with point guard Carlos Arroyo, to the Orlando Magic for Kelvin Cato and a first-round pick in the 2007 NBA Draft (Rodney Stuckey).[5]

During a game against the New York Knicks he played 32 minutes and finished with 13 points and 7 rebounds. The 13 points and 32 minutes were season highs, and he led the Magic in minutes for that game. Miličić averaged 2.4 blocks per game in his first 20 games as a member of the Magic. In the 2006-07 playoffs, he increased his scoring by 4 points per game to 12.3 on 58.8% shooting.[6] When his rookie contract expired offseason, Orlando GM Otis Smith did not sign the matching offer on the table, and so he became an unrestricted free agent.

Memphis Grizzlies

On July 12, 2007, the first day of free agency, Miličić was signed by the Memphis Grizzlies to a three-year, $21 million contract.[7] Miličić hurt his Achilles tendon practicing with the Serbian national team in the 2008 offseason but was available to start at the beginning of the season. Miličić began the 2008-09 season starting at power forward but, due to poor play, was moved to the bench. Miličić regained his starting job as his play steadily improved in early December 2008. Miličić's progress was set back by an injury on December 26, 2008 against the Indiana Pacers when he broke a knuckle on his right hand during the game.[8]

He was eventually replaced by Marc Gasol as a starter.

New York Knicks

On June 25, 2009, Miličić was traded to the New York Knicks for Quentin Richardson and cash considerations.[9] On December 17, 2009 Miličić said that he plans to leave the NBA and return to playing basketball in Europe next season.[10]

International career

In 2006, Miličić led Serbia and Montenegro at the 2006 FIBA World Championship. Serbia and Montenegro had decided to replace their aging superstars, who had led the team to a gold medal finish in the previous 2002 FIBA World Championship, with young blood. Miličić led the team in rebounds (56) and blocked shots (17) and was second on the team in scoring (16.2 ppg) and assists (11) through six games. In Serbia and Montenegro's sixth and final game against Spain, Miličić matched up against NBA All-Star Pau Gasol and finished with a very respectable 18 points, 15 rebounds, and 3 blocks.

After a 68–67 overtime loss to Greece in the EuroBasket 2007 Miličić made vulgar remarks in his native tongue about the referees and their families in front of Serbian media.[11][12] He got a heavy fine by FIBA and his outburst was heavily criticized by Memphis Grizzlies general manager Chris Wallace and head coach Marc Iavaroni.[13]

Video game appearance

Personal life

Miličić has stated that after his NBA career ends he will fulfill his obligation to military service in his native Serbia.[14] His parents are Milorad and Zora. His sister Tijana is a volleyball player.[15] On May 23 2009, he married his girlfriend of 3 years, Zorana Markus.[16] The two had a son in the summer of 2009.[17]

NBA career statistics

Legend
  GP Games played   GS  Games started  MPG  Minutes per game
 FG%  Field-goal percentage  3P%  3-point field-goal percentage  FT%  Free-throw percentage
 RPG  Rebounds per game  APG  Assists per game  SPG  Steals per game
 BPG  Blocks per game  PPG  Points per game  Bold  Career high

Regular season

Year Team GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
2003–04 Detroit 34 0 4.7 .262 .000 .583 1.3 .2 .2 .4 1.4
2004–05 Detroit 37 2 6.9 .329 .000 .708 1.2 .2 .1 .5 1.8
2005–06 Detroit 25 0 5.6 .515 .000 .375 1.1 .4 .1 .6 1.5
2005–06 Orlando 30 1 20.9 .507 .000 .595 4.1 1.1 .4 2.1 7.6
2006–07 Orlando 80 16 23.9 .454 .000 .613 5.5 1.1 .6 1.8 8.0
2007–08 Memphis 70 64 23.8 .438 .000 .554 6.1 .8 .5 1.6 7.2
2008–09 Memphis 61 15 17.0 .515 .000 .562 4.3 .6 .4 .8 5.5
Career 337 98 17.2 .454 .000 .588 4.0 .7 .4 1.2 5.5

Playoffs

Year Team GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
2003–04 Detroit 8 0 1.8 .000 .000 .250 .4 .1 .1 .0 .1
2004–05 Detroit 9 0 2.3 .286 .000 1.000 .4 .1 .0 .1 .6
2006–07 Orlando 4 0 28.8 .588 .000 .529 4.5 1.0 .2 1.0 12.3
Career 21 0 7.1 .489 .000 .500 1.2 .3 .1 .2 2.6

References

  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ Darko Milicic biography. NBA.com. Retrieved on October 30, 2009.
  3. ^ Lage, Larry (2005-06-17). "Pistons' Milicic is still waiting, watching". Boston Globe. http://www.boston.com/sports/articles/2005/06/17/pistons_milicic_is_still_waiting_watching?mode=PF.  
  4. ^ "Darko Milicic says Pistons wasted their pick on him". The Detroit News. January 9, 2010. http://www.detnews.com/article/20100109/SPORTS0102/1090363/1004/SPORTS/Darko-Milicic-says-Pistons-wasted-their-pick-on-him.  
  5. ^ Press, Associated (2006-02-22). "Pistons get Cato, first-round pick for Darko, Arroyo". ESPN. http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=2332021.  
  6. ^ NBA.com Darko Milicic career stats
  7. ^ Milicic, Grizzlies agree on three-year deal July 11, 2007
  8. ^ Milicic out 4-6 weeks
  9. ^ "Knicks Trade For Former No. 2 Overall Pick Milicic". NBA.com. 2009-06-25. http://www.nba.com/knicks/news/milicictrade090625.html. Retrieved 2009-06-28.  
  10. ^ "Darko plans European return as he can't get off Knicks bench". 2009-1217-25. http://www.nypost.com/p/sports/knicks/count_darko_out_pbz7MTegxNv38e272IVXDO. Retrieved 2009-12-17.  
  11. ^ Darko Milicic angry and vulgar outburst video (English subtitle) at Metacafe
  12. ^ Miličić' angry comments after Serbia-Greece (Serbian language) at YouTube (requires Adobe Flash)
  13. ^ Milicic fined $14K by FIBA, reprimanded by Grizzlies for tirade
  14. ^ Schmitz, Brian (2006-12-19). "Driven to succeed". Orlando Sentinel. http://www.orlandosentinel.com/sports/basketball/magic/orl-schmitz1906dec19,0,1722597.column?page=2&coll=orl-magic.  
  15. ^ http://www.usatoday.com/sports/basketball/nba/2003-03-31-darko-focus_x.htm
  16. ^ http://www.blic.rs/zabava.php?id=94066
  17. ^ Brian Mahoney. "Pairing of Knicks and Darko Milicic could give both what they need". Baltimore Sun. October 1, 2009.

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