BOSTON- Boston Celtics center Darko Millicic has been defined by the fact that Millicic was not only the second overall selection in one of the strongest NBA drafts ever, but picked ahead of NBA superstars Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, and Dwayne Wade. The sad fact is Millicic has never really realized the potential many saw before that draft that is tucked away in his monstrous seven foot frame.
Many of Millicic’s former coaches and teammates have expressed that they felt the weight of trying to prove that he was worthy of being picked ahead of these great super stars was a major reason factor in Millicic never living up to his potential. Millicic always seemed like he was trying to force the issue early on and thus made a lot of mistakes at both ends of the floor. The lack of success than started eating away at Millicic’s confidence. The result is Millicic instead of being a star in this league is a journey man center now that was an amnesty cut by his last employer and up until a month ago wondered if he would ever get another shot at trying to become a contributor for an NBA franchise.
Millicic was in luck because Boston Celtics President Danny Ainge is a visionary to say the least. The fact is over the years many people have looked at what Millicic isn’t rather than what he is and that fact is largely due to the fact the giant elephant of being the number two pick was planted squarely in front of Millicic’s potential. Millicic was immediately signed to be the newest member of the Celtics.
Ainge knows Millicic is not going to be the next Shaquille O’Neal or David Robinson. However, Millicic is still a 27 year old seven foot big man with undeniable skills. Millicic can run the floor very well. Millicic has shown flashes of great defensive instincts and toughness. Millicic can also rebound well with an ability to fight for positioning. At 27 the fact is there is plenty of basketball life left in his body and time to make Millicic a more than solid NBA big man that can contribute on a contending team with the right coaching.
Millicic thus far is getting the coaching he needs to unlock the potential in that massive frame from head coach Doc Rivers. Rivers has made first started by taking care of Millicic’s fragile psyche. Rivers has made it clear to Millicic that he not the former number two pick known as Darko. Millicic is now a Celtic. Rivers has made him repeat that fact to the point when Rivers recently asked him who he is, Millicic replied, “Celtic”.
Rivers does this kind of breaking down of Millicic because he wants him to realize that his slate is completely clean in Boston. There are no ridiculous expectations of being franchise player that can carry the team. Millicic can just come out and play hard in the supporting role the Celtics have in mind for him.
The other man that has been in Millicic’s ear trying to help him be the best that he can be is of course the undeniable leader of the Celtics vaunted defense, Kevin Garnett. KG has long been a fan of Millicic and felt that he could really become a very good NBA player if he was given proper instruction and put the needed work in. KG has made it clear that he is fully prepared to show Millicic the Celtics Way. Judging by KG’s recent track record with guys like Leone Powe, Glen Davis, Greg Stiemsma, and Kendrick Perkins, Millicic under KG’s wing should thrive.
The bottom line is KG is out to help Millicic become a solid player and has faith in him. Doc Rivers is out to unlock the potential in Millicic and has faith that Millicic can be a solid player. All that is left is for Millicic to put the work in, build confidence, and realize that potential. If Millicic can contribute to a Celtics title in 2013 and go on to a solid career, then maybe the bust moniker and expectations not fulfilled can finally be put to rest. The Boston Celtics and Darko Millicic both hope that happens. Remember Go Green Or Go Home!!!!!!!!