Joe Dumars discussed Darko Milicic this week, within the context of the background work he now does on draft prospects like Andre Drummond. Dumars said that, “”After I drafted Darko, from that point on, the amount of background we do on every single player that you see us draft is ridiculous. We do as much or more background than any other team in the NBA because of that.”
Kelly Dwyer of Yahoo!’s Ball Don’t Lie got back into the reasoning at the time for Milicic:
In a moment West had to deal the dual indignities of both losing out on LeBron James, by one grab of a lottery ball, but also losing out on his lottery pick altogether. And that Grizzlies team, even before hiring coach Hubie Brown a few months into the 2002-03 season, earned that pick.
The problem here is that Dumars told anyone that would listen — and this was in May, mind you — that the Pistons would be using the top overall pick on Darko. Didn’t look seriously into trading down, didn’t run another month’s worth of background checks. Didn’t exactly go in unfamiliar about the guy, but could have done more.
The problem here is that so, so many other teams would have done the same. Even if Wade and Anthony were just a few months removed from shining in their trips to the Final Four.
Milicic was that highly-regarded, so to pass it off as the Pistons acting alone or that “Tayshaun Prince played well out of nowhere for Detroit in the 2003 playoffs, so they took stupid Darko” is wrong. Yes, Prince played well for Rick Carlisle in the postseason, watching as his minutes jumped up from 10 to 25 per game, but Dumars was taking Darko anyway.
Have fun delving into the past this weekend.