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Darko in Boston: The Best-Case Scenario

 

Many times I have wondered if Darko Milicic has ever read a blog. Like, if he knows anything of the massive reputation he’s developed after almost a decade as the laughingstock of the Internet. Has he heard of Free Darko? Does he occasionally Google “Darko” and get confused when almost all the results are about Donnie Darko? Does he scroll through old RealGM forums on his Blackberry Torch in the bathroom, running the shower so his children can’t hear him cry? The only thing we can know for sure is that his web browser is Safari. The rest is a tantalizing mystery, never to be solved.

But if I had to guess, just based on his facial expressions when he plays, I think that he basically knows what people think of him. He always sort of looks like he’s built an emotional wall to keep out all his haters, and every reaction he has is some variation on angry—lots of air-punching and scary mugs. Basketball does not look like the funnest thing in his life. Could it have stopped being fun when he learned that basically everyone in the arena was laughing at him at all times? Doesn’t that seem kind of reasonable?

This is all part of why I love this Celtics signing so much, and why I’m so very excited for the first time Darko gets introduced in TD Garden. I think Boston could potentially be very kind to him, and that he could return that kindness by contributing value off the bench. Understandably, some disagree. Their arguments are mostly built on the premise that Darko is bad and he sucks. All very reasonable arguments. But I actually think his reputation could help him fit in here.

Like it or not, the Boston sports community gravitates towards doofy, slow, vaguely out-of-shape white guys. The urge to cheer guys like that on is all-powerful in this city, and it’s especially powerful if the white guy sucks. The more he sucks, the more hilarious it is to cheer for him like he’s good! This is a city where BOTH Lou Merloni and Brian Scalabrine now work in sports commentary, mostly because they were sort of bad at their sports and people thought that was funny. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but it is a true thing. You must face the reality of this head-on.

Darko doesn’t exactly fit the Lou-Scal mold because he’s much scarier and he might actually be crazy. There’s a fantastic NSFW video I can’t post but can link to that illustrates these qualities of his quite nicely. But he’s white, and he’s a weirdo, and he’s already famous for sucking. Can’t you see Darko filling the void left by Semih Erden and Luke Harangody as the Celtics’ gawky, uncomfortable fan favorite? Just like those guys, he’s under no pressure to be great: Doc’s plan is almost definitely for Darko to spell KG as a 3rd center. Scrub white players getting limited minutes, if they perform even passably and with any personality at all, always get love in Boston. They get personalized chants. He could easily get a soccer-style “Darkoooooooooooooooooo” every time he steps on the court. Easily! Five capable games and that chant is his.

Darko would never really have experienced that kind of affection in his career—so wouldn’t it be interesting to see how it affected his game? What if he started clawing dudes’ eyes out for extra boards and thudding blocks straight back into their mugs—just to play to his adoring audience? Remember that he’s already got a Boston accent name: do you realize how much fans are going to love saying “Dahko” all the time? Freshly screenprinted t-shirts that say “DAHKO” on the back are probably cooling on the racks at Modell’s this very moment. Who cares, you ask? Ask Nomar if his name didn’t help his career in Boston. Ask him.

I doubt Darko’s ever starred in a local commercial, but in Boston he’d be chin-deep in them. You wouldn’t be able to turn on a single-digit channel without hearing his weird accent shilling tires and discount furniture. “Do you have pizza in Serbia?” some kid asks Darko. “Yes, but not as good as your Papa Gino’s!” he replies loudly. Easy. That commercial would run for eight years.

If sad Darko can put up average numbers on a bad team, happy Darko could probably anchor a reserve defense on this good one. After a few months, he could even promoted to the starting lineup if somebody gets hurt or KG gets tired of playing center. Darko’s goodwill campaign would maybe not last that move, because he’d actually be expected to produce, and he doesn’t seem to flourish in those conditions. If he started going 1-6 and fouling out in 25 minutes every night, his accent would probably not seem quite so adorable anymore. But what an imaginary ride he took us on, huh? So many imaginary ups and downs. We can only dream our hardest that any of it actually happens.

  • howardavellino

    This is an idiotic post. WTF?

    • darko

      Yes, your post is idiotic. I agree.

      • James Patrick

        Not every post on here is great. I've seen some terrible ones. Like work on your creative writing skills somewhere else. HOWEVER… someone put the energy and time into writing this, so be cool.

  • darko

    I believe!

  • dRgonZo279

    "Could it have stopped being fun when he learned that basically everyone in the arena was laughing at him at all times?" I love that. Harsh, but fair!

  • CG12

    This post seems to be mostly, if not entirely, tongue-in-cheek, but I think there is a potential grain of truth to much of it. For Darko to just play a little, with no expectations of anything more, on a good team, and to actually get cheered rather than boo'ed, might help turn his mojo around a little. There is no reason a mobile 7-footer can't provide 5-10 useful minutes a game blocking shots and getting rebounds. With the scoring depth the Cs have, he doesn't need to worry about the offensive end, even a little.

    This is the kind of low-risk, high-reward gamble that a team with a strong culture can take. No one in Boston is the least bit worried about Darko's sour attitude disrupting the team. He can get on board and maybe find something positive to take out of what has thus far been a pretty horrible experience for him, or not and KG will melt him into a puddle.

    • http://twitter.com/M_DeVelaine @M_DeVelaine

      This is a Hayes post, so the humor and sarcasm is in full effect one would expect. Amusing, yes. I'm still not sold that this is going to work…

  • Tommie

    Hilarious post! More like this, please.

    • janos

      hi tonny, i am also look forwards haynes write year season, this.

      • dslack

        I enjoy reading your posts, janos, but I've always been curious what about being from a foreign country makes it difficult to read how people's names are spelled.

        • CG12

          That's a great point. I wondered the same thing.

  • Bookworm

    I like the signing. I really think he gives the Cs a more rounded backup than Mr. Collins. It's not Dahko's fault his talent was universally over valued when he was drafted. I remember reading a pre-draft article in SI (I think) which had me visualizing a deadly combo of Sabonis and Magic Johnson. If he'd have been picked late in the first round or in the second, he'd be just another journeyman NBA big with no baggage. A winning atmosphere and a good coaching staff will bring out whatever potential remains untapped.

    • dslack

      If he'd been picked in the 2nd round, he'd probably be out of the NBA by now.

  • Bill

    This is NOT an idiotic post at ALL. Its very well written, hysterical(!) And I actually have been wondering and hoping something like this happens (more so him playing well and helping the team out all year). I think Ainge took a low risk gamble on a player who turned down $6mil overseas to give it one last shot in the NBA. I think the only reason the heat didngn him was because it wouldve been too weird for all involved with him, bron and wade on same team, I think that pressure wouldve been too much. But the Celtics are a perfect fit. I hope he turns it around and finds a home in Beantown. If he does, it would be an incredible story. It would make me buy a “DAHKO!!!” T-shirt for sure LOL!!! -cheers and GO CELTICS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Banner 18 THIS YEAR!!!

  • Adam

    This is the only appropriate sort of response a die hard fan can have when we're taking on a dude like Darko. No offense against Danny (thanks for screwing up rondo's mojo for a season with a surprise trade of his best friend and then talking trading him! Just saying!) but this choice is dubious and we can't do a darn thing about it but hope he does what some players do under Doc and the Cs – thrive.

  • Jamiepaul

    Comedy is the only way to address this.

  • http://www.celtic-nation.com bballee

    Works on several levels, and not beyond the realm of possibility.

  • ElRoz

    Well, a big man with NBA experience to back up KG and Collins is not a bad idea. You can never have enough big-men here in Boston (notice the last 4 years !). Wilcox could back up Bass then, or play both. But another big man is not a bad addition.

    I'd be interested to see what Doc is planning as far as KG, Wilcox, Bass…does Bass start alongside KG, or does he come off the bench while KG-Wilcox line-up puts two centers who are also power forwards (or the other way). Bass and Collins off the bench alongside Green?

  • CG12

    Bass and KG start. Bass's jump shooting works great with what the first team does on O. Wilcox is a good fit with the second unit, which is shaping up to have great potential as a run-and-gun change of pace. You look at those guys, and they can all fly – Terry, Lee/AB, Green, Wilcox. The only exception is Sullinger, as the supposed second string PF. I think you will see Wilcox play some PF next to Darko. Collins plays behind Darko, or, more to the point, doesn't play at all. It is going to be very interesting to see how the bench minutes and lineups play out. A few guys who could have gotten minutes somewhere else will be riding pine unless someone gets injured.

  • thunderlizards

    we need another ballhandler now though with dooling retiring

  • Kafel

    Jonny Flynn could be nice addition. Or give a chance to rookies. Only not Derek Fischer please….

  • Gey G

    you still suck as a team
    Darko or no Darko

    • NHBluesMan

      "you still suck as a team"

      wow, what an INCREDIBLY valid argument!! Considering last year, as a team, they Celtics were 7 minutes from the NBA finals (and might've gotten there without afew botched calls in previous games) that's a pretty bold statement. Also this years group hasn't even played together yet so you can't really even begin to make a call on how they'll be as a team. On paper, they're BETTER than last years squad, so please, enlighten all of us here how we 'still suck as a team'

      I'll wait for a valid argument, otherwise, quit trolling

      • Gey G

        Celtics were 7 minutes from NBA finals
        because all teams, including Chicago and Atlanta were injured

        • NHBluesMan

          and the Celtics weren't injured?
          Jeff Green, Chris Wilcox, and Jermain O'Neal were out for most if not all of the season. Bradley was out for the series against the Heat (a lockdown defender who gave Wade headaches) and Pierce and Allen were both playing through injuries during the playoffs as well. Yes teams were injured, it happens during a lockout season, but a team with 3 certain HoF players a 4th likely HoF player and a HoF worthy coach don't get the the Conference Finals on a fluke… and I hold to this statement strongly: If the Celtics had even just Avery Bradley healthy for the whole playoffs, they would've hoisted banner 18 this past year. As things are, they didn't have him and they didn't win, but by no means do they "still suck" when they've been legitimately in consideration for the title every year since KG came to Beantown

    • MJohnnyboy

      You know, if we suck as a team, then what the hell are you doing here in the first place? Since we suck, then you shouldn't have anything to worry about hence refraining from having to say so, am I right?

      It's not like you're scared of the Celtics and are posting this out of fear now are you?

  • CelticsBIG3

    At least this isn't like years past where we need to depend on him to play a large role; Like when Danny imagined Mikey Moore was going to get that done for us.

  • http://sweb2.dmit.nait.ca/dchen9/Boston-Celtics-2013-Offense/ Dave

    Darko is a solid role player, anything more out of him would be gravy. Doc and KG would probably have a good influence on this guy.

  • Gey G

    scared of old fart ?
    LOL

  • smalltownID

    That was a classic post HD. I loved it and was prudent for the off season especially. I'm pumped to have another big no matter the potential baggage.

  • High Rollers

    Rondo at #12, presumably behind Rose and Paul AND Williams AND Westbrook? WoW. Methinks ESPN is trying to fuel his fire and milk him for all he’s worth. Well, this kind of disrespect should do it.

  • High Rollers

    The five singularly most valuable players in the NBA (on the floor) right now are James, Durant, Rondo, Paul, and Kobe. Rose (best wishes) and Howard (please grow up) both have something to prove coming off injuries. And Kobe can’t work bone on bone forever, no matter how many trips to Germany. So it’s really like a top four (and six if the injured return 100%). Nobody else owns the floor like these guys.

  • High Rollers

    And I’d take Ticket or Truth over Mamba anyway.

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  • adam clark

    darko coming to boston was one of the best moves in the off season.with kg's help he is going to be a monster in the paint!! 7 foot & 275 pounds…. # shauq the 2nd. lol

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