When you talk about some of the biggest draft busts in NBA history, Darko Miličić has to be at the top of that list. The Serbian big-man was drafted 2nd overall by the Detroit Pistons in one of the best draft classes in NBA history. LeBron James would be the only guy selected before him, while names like Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, and more got left behind.
The potential was there, as Darko had some promise to his game. At 7’0″, Miličić could move well and provide some solid skill in the post with that left hand. But that raw potential never got fulfilled, as Darko never managed to find his place in the league. In two and a half seasons, the Pistons wouldn’t give him too many opportunities, and the team that drafted him gave up on him rather quickly.
After that, Miličić became a journeyman in the NBA, playing for a couple of franchises until he retired from basketball in 2013. Darko would still notch ten seasons in the league, averaging a whopping 6 points and 4.2 rebounds per game. It was the end of a disappointing career for a 2nd overall pick many predicted could be the next big thing in the NBA.
Well, it seems Darko himself was thinking the same thing after he got drafted. NBA Draft expert Chad Ford made an appearance on the Ryen Russillo Podcast and shared a hilarious story about how Darko thought he was better than LeBron James.
“Darko Milicic was a confident dude, he would argue to your face ‘I’m better than LeBron James.’ I remember I was with Darko at the start of the season and we were driving over to the Palace in Auburn Hills. They are advertising for a preseason game as the Cavs were coming and it’s ‘LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavs are coming.’ And Darko looks at the billboard and goes ‘Why is my name not up there?'”Chad Ford, The Ryen Russillo Podcast
Well, when you compare LeBron and Darko’s careers, there is not much left to say. But say what you want about Darko Miličić; this guy never lacked confidence. Too bad he didn’t have the career to back it up. Sure he was nowhere near good enough to be the 2nd pick in a stacked draft, but Darko still achieved a long respectful NBA career. Something a lot of players cannot say. Nowadays, Darko has moved on from basketball and focused on other things, like a short fighting career and farming. What a diverse roller-coaster of a life.
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