|Darko's season with the Celtics could be done after four minutes of play. (Getty Images)|
On Monday, Yahoo Sports reported that Darko Milicic could be leaving the Boston Celtics to tend to his mother, who is ill. Tuesday, coach Doc Rivers all but confirmed his backup center's backup is probably done with the Celtics. Via CelticsBlog:
Doc said it's likely Darko is done with the Celtics.— Greg Payne (@GregPayne_ESPN) November 20, 2012
Doc noted that once family issues come into play, it can be difficult to focus on basketball. The issues were hurting Darko's mindset.— Greg Payne (@GregPayne_ESPN) November 20, 2012
Darko has long been the punch line in many NBA jokes. I, myself, have often made light of his career, especially when he was a member of my beloved Minnesota Timberwolves. With that said, there is no making fun of the situation he's going through right now. The fact that he has to leave the NBA to be with his ill mother is just a bad situation.
Whether or not he could have made a difference with the Celtics at some point this season becomes a moot argument. He'll tend to higher priorities, and we hope everything goes well for him.
His career is an odd one. Let's pretend he was draft eligible in 2002 and was selected second behind Yao Ming and in front of Jay Williams, Mike Dunleavy, Drew Gooden and Nikoloz Tskitishvili. If he gets drafted then and still never pans out, would anybody care that he was a draft bust? I'd wager that we probably wouldn't. He would just be another disappointing draft pick in a disappointing draft class.
Instead, he goes No. 2 to the Pistons in 2003. The fact that he was selected ahead of Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, and Dwyane Wade turned him into a prospect that better not miss out on realizing his potential. He went to the Detroit Pistons, where he was buried on the bench. He was on a title winning and contending team for the next couple of years.
Because Joe Dumars decided to invest in him instead of an NCAA champion like Carmelo, people mocked Darko's career in a far harsher way than he probably deserved. He was built up into this legendary prospect by pre-draft scouting with little to go off of, and the result was a huge disappointment.
Darko is a living example of how scouting can go hilariously wrong. There are times in which the luck of the draw and the luck of when a person was born can end up working out swimmingly in the NBA Draft process. This was not one of those times.
If this is Darko's last moment with the NBA, he will have earned nearly $50 million for his career salary totals and scored fewer than 3,000 points for his career. While nobody will be that sad to see Darko go, it's sad that it has to be on these terms.