Darko Milicic this season has been… okay. Pedestrian. Average. Giving the Timberwolves 9 points and 5 rebounds a game, shooting about as well as he has the last few years, getting more chances, turning the ball over a little more. He’s been a big body that has given the Timberwolves a passable big to play beside Kevin Love.
But if you ask Minnesota GM David Kahn you’d find a man convinced Darko — now in his eighth NBA season — is just starting to break through. He’s turning the corner. He really deserves that $20 million contract! Kahn was on the Minnesota Timberwolves broadcast and got a softball of a question about how great Darko looked and came back with this response (transcribed by CBS Facts & Rumors):
I met with Darko today because I hadn’t talked to him in awhile, and I think there’s just still so much more to come. And I think that we expect it out of him. It’s not enough, is what I’m trying to say. We think that Darko can actually get to sort of a near All-Star if not All-Star level. There’s not a lot of quality centers in our sport. There’s no reason to think that a year from now if Darko were to continue his trajectory upwards, he couldn’t be in the mix about a year from now for the All-Star game.”
I’ll grant you that the Western Conference center pool is not that deep, especially with Yao Ming out. But let’s go down the list of people I would vote for before Darko just for fun: Andrew Bynum, Nene, Marc Gasol, Marcus Camby, Emeka Okafor and maybe even DeMarcus Cousins as a rookie. Chris Kaman would be on the list, too, if he were healthy. Darko will never get the fan vote, and coaches will go to players from winning teams first, so that leaves the Wolves in a bad spot for a couple years.
I will never fully understand the fascination with Darko on Minnesota.