Milicic prior to a game with Serbian team I Came To Play
in Oct. 2019
|No. 31, 99|
|Born:|| June 20, 1985 |
Novi Sad, SFR Yugoslavia
|Listed height:||7 ft 0 in (2.13 m)|
|Listed weight:||250 lbs (113 kg)|
|National Basketball Association career|
|Debut: 2003 for Detroit Pistons |
Last game: 2012 for Boston Celtics
|High school:||Hemiska (Serbia)|
|NBA Draft:||2003 / Rnd: 1 / Pck: 2nd|
|Career highlights and awards|
|profile at NBA.com|
stats at Basketball-reference.com
Darko Miličić (born June 20, 1985) is a Serbian former professional basketball player. He was drafted 2nd overall in the 2003 NBA Draft by the Pistons. In the first 2½ seasons of his career playing for the Detroit Pistons, Miličić averaged 5.8 minutes and 1.6 points per game. In the 30 games he played during the 2005-06 season with the Orlando Magic, he averaged 20.9 minutes, 7.6 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 2.07 blocks per game.
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. During his time with the Pistons, Miličić won an NBA championship in 2004 but saw limited playing time.
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."
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 Darko 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. Darko's surprising lack of playing time in Detroit was frequently highlighted in publications like ESPN The Magazine and Sports Illustrated.
Miličić became the youngest player ever 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.
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).
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. Darko also exhibited his abilities as a shot blocker by averaging 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. 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.
On July 12, 2007, the first day of free agency, Miličić was signed by the Memphis Grizzlies to a three-year, $21 million contract. 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 NBA 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. However, Darko's progress was again 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. Darko was expected to miss 4–6 weeks as a result of the injury, targeting a late January/early February return.
Darko gained notoriety on YouTube during the December 8, 2008 game against the Houston Rockets. Darko was guarding Yao Ming and was called for a questionable foul and protested to the official. Darko then received a technical foul and was subsequently sent to the bench. In anger, Darko reached up and ripped his jersey down the middle--an impressive feat of strength given the durability of NBA authentic jerseys. The jersey was subsequently auctioned and purchased by a fan in the Memphis area.
Milicic during a Timberwolves game in 2010
In 2006, Darko Miličić led a rebuilding 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. 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.
- Milicic appeared in the videogame NBA Ballers along with fellow rookie classmates LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony.
Miličić has stated that after his NBA career ends he will fulfill his obligation to military service in his native Serbia. His parents are Milorad and Zora. His sister Tijana is a volleyball player.
- HoopsWorld GLOBAL Story, 03/26/2007
- NBA.com Profile
- ESPN.com Profile
- interview after Greece - Serbia 07/09/2007