06.13.05

Pistons Fade, Darko Pouts

Posted in Basketball at 5:42 pm by

Just as his coach showed there’s never a bad time to worry about personal career goals, Darko Milicic isn’t going to let a little distraction like trailing 2-0 to the Spurs stand in the way of speculation about his playing time. From the Detroit News’ Chris McCosky.

Pistons coach Larry Brown inadvertently reopened an old wound with second-year forward Darko Milicic. Brown was asked a fairly simple question — what has Chauncey Billups meant to the team?

In a long, rambling answer, Brown somehow got around to praising the perseverance of Nazr Mohammed. In the process, he managed to send a not-so-cuddly message to Milicic.

Brown started talking about how Billups had endured failure in several NBA stops before getting to Minnesota and, then, Detroit. He said it reminded him of Mohammed, whom he coached in Philadelphia. And after praising Mohammed’s tireless pursuit of success, which has landed him a starting role with the Spurs, Brown threw a dart at Milicic.

“I’ve got a young kid who is 19 years old (Milicic),” Brown said. “In the middle of last year, his No. 1 priority is ‘I want to play.’ And now we’re in the end of a second year, his No. 1 priority is ‘I want to play.’

“I don’t fault it, but you’ve got to have a certain kind of special quality or character to understand, hey, no matter what the odds are and what things are going against me, I’m not going to stop trying to prove myself.”

Milicic (above) was asked by reporters Saturday if he felt forgotten by the Pistons.

“I have no idea. I’m still here,” he said.

But he reiterated the impatience for which Brown has criticized him.

“The first year was good to watch and learn, but I think the second year I just lost one year,” he said. “For me, I think the best way to improve yourself is playing time. I know I can play, but I’m not really a patient person. That’s why I don’t really like to wait. But I can’t go back right now.”

Milicic was asked what, if anything, Brown has said to him.

“Not much,” he said. “Like everybody else — be patient, wait and play hard. That’s what I do every day, but nothing changes.”

Milicic scoffed at the notion that young players like him would be better off if the NBA had a legitimate minor-league system.

“Never,” he said. “I would never come there. I would never play there, because I’m coming from a much better league. I would never take that option. That’s just how I feel. I would rather go home than go play in the (development league).”

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