9 Most hated Detroit sports athletes in recent history

One thing is for sure, Detroit fans are extremely passionate about their sports. The athletes that play hard, do well, and show loyalty will always have a place in the hearts of the fans. That being said, if a player does not do those things, they will soon become hated for all time. Here is … Read more

Richard Hamilton talks about ‘what if’ the Detroit Pistons drafted Carmelo Anthony

With the No. 2 pick in the 2003 NBA Draft, the Detroit Pistons selected Darko Milicic. At the time, LeBron James was the clear-cut No. 1 prospect but there was a plethora of debate as to who the Pistons should select at No. 2, Milicic or Carmelo Anthony, who was coming off an NCAA Championship … Read more

Ben Wallace says Detroit Pistons would have won zero championships with Carmelo Anthony

In 2003, the Detroit Pistons had the No. 3 pick in the NBA Draft and as we all know, general manager Joe Dumars made the decision to select Darko Milicic. Though the Pistons went on to win the 2004 NBA Championship with Milicic riding the bench, many have wondered how many titles could have been … Read more

Larry Brown: I thought Pistons would draft Carmelo Anthony, not Darko

Fans of the Detroit Pistons weren’t the only ones who were surprised to see the team not draft Carmelo Anthony with the second overall draft pick in the 2003 NBA Draft. Hall of Fame head coach Larry Brown, who was entering his first season with the Pistons, was also surprised at the decision. Hall of … Read more

“Finding Darko” to air on ESPN this Sunday

He’s known as one of the greatest (or worst) busts in NBA history. Now he’s making his mark as a farmer back in his native Siberia, and ESPN will be airing a special piece reflecting on his disappointing basketball career and his current endeavors.

Darko Milicic was drafted No. 2 overall by the Detroit Pistons in the 2003 NBA Draft, one spot behind LeBron James and ahead of Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, Dwayne Wade, and others who went on to become bonafide NBA stars.

Darko Milicic Draft

But after averaging a dismal 1.6 PPG and 5.8 minutes per game in 96 appearances with the Pistons, he was dealt to the Orlando Magic in 2006 and bounced around the NBA before leaving the league in 2013. 

Pistons fans often referred to Milicic as the “human victory cigar,” as he would usually only play during blowout wins and losses, and his public complaints about the lack of playing time were well-documented. He never really gelled with the veteran core then Pistons head coach Larry Brown had in place, but it didn’t bother Brown one bit having played Darko sparingly.

“I don’t have any regrets about how we treated Darko,” Brown says now. “I have regrets that he couldn’t have been more mature and patient.”

Story authory Sam Borden discusses a number of things with the Serbian-born 7-footer, as he lays out in his feature piece. Darko even delves into how, like many foreign superstars with aspirations of finding their way to the NBA, he had a player he very much admired and respected: Kevin Garnett. The reason? Well, there really wasn’t one.

“I just sort of found him and decided he’s the one,” Darko says now. “It seemed like the player I was supposed to like.”

The show will air on ESPN this Sunday at 9 a.m ET. You can watch a preview of the segment here, and ready Borden’s entire piece on Darko here.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aziKiVpw2tI&ab_channel=NBANetwork

Former No. 2 pick Darko Milicic opens up about hating life in the NBA, and what it means to be labeled a bust.

The most famous draft bust in Detroit Pistons history is unarguably Darko Milicic. Milicic was picked No. 2 overall in the 2003 NBA Draft. What makes Milicic’s bust so much worse is the elite company he was in. Darko went second, the rest of the top five are: LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, and … Read more

NBA Mock Draft has Detroit Pistons selecting…The next Darko?

Heading into the 2016-2017 NBA season, both the Detroit Pistons and their fans had their hopes set high for what was sure to be a great season. Following a solid 2015-2016 regular season, the Pistons gave the eventual NBA Champion Cleveland Cavaliers a run for their money, despite being swept in the first round of … Read more

Tayshaun Prince: The Pistons could have won 4 championships if they drafted Carmelo Anthony

With the Detroit Pistons season right around the corner, the inevitable reminder that they drafted Darko Milicic No. 2 overall instead of Carmelo Anthony,  Dwyane Wade, or Chris Bosh in 2003 is sure to come, and boy did it ever. However, this time was different. It wasn’t just fan hyperbole and what-if scenarios powering this … Read more

What if Melo went to Detroit? ‘We probably would have had three championships’, Billups says

Oh boy, not this again. It’s become one of Detroit’s favorite hypothetical sports queries over the years, right alongside, “What if Isiah didn’t sprain his ankle in ’88?” and “What if the Lions actually won a Super Bowl?” Still, despite being over 12 years removed, people are still asking, “What if the Pistons had used their … Read more

13 years in, Grand Rapids native Chris Kaman finally buries first career 3-pointer (video)

Portland Trail Blazers center Chris Kaman received just 2 minutes 54 seconds of playing time in Sunday’s 123-103 loss to the Pistons, but it turned out to be just enough run to reach a semi-significant milestone. With a shade under 20 seconds remaining in a Pistons rout Kaman, who starred at Central Michigan, received a kick … Read more

From MJ to LeBron (to Darko): Pistons preseason openers hold strange historical relevance

Chances are, the few thousand folks tuning in to the Pistons 2015-16 preseason debut against the Indiana Pacers Tuesday night won’t be witnessing history (the start of Stanley Johnson’s Hall of Fame career notwithstanding). But over a three year span in the early 2000’s, The Palace of Auburn Hills served as an unlikely epicenter for debuts ranging … Read more

Lottery Flashback: The Pistons get lucky, then not

When the Detroit Pistons shipped the ever-reliable Otis Thorpe to Vancouver just prior to the 1997-98 season, the middle school version of myself was wildly uninspired with the move.

Yes, I was bummed to see Otis hit the road. But for a conditional future draft pick? That’s it? For our starting power forward?

Six years later, I was a college freshman, having grown only marginally wiser since my adolescence. On May 22, 2003, the Pistons were set to take on the New Jersey Nets in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals. Meanwhile, as the Pistons and Nets warmed up in East Rutherford, the NBA Draft Lottery was running concurrently in nearby Seacaucus, and the Pistons had a lot on the line.

As it turns out, that conditional draft pick dealt in exchange for Thorpe in ’97 was quickly running out of conditions. No longer top-20 or lottery protected, the Grizzlies were going to be forced to part ways with their selection… unless they drew the top pick. Armed with only the league’s fifth-worse record, the Grizzlies held just a 6.4% chance of earning top billing.

The Pistons, meanwhile, were a conference finalist, coming off back-to-back Central Division titles. They were a budding NBA power, though hardly considered a legitimate contender. While their backcourt had developed better than most had imagined (comprised of a young Chauncey Billups and Richard Hamilton), and rookie Tayshaun Prince was churning out magical postseason performances, Detroit remained relatively barren upfront, aside from two-time Defensive Player of the Year Ben Wallace.

As a result, as my friend Kevin and I raced home from Kalamazoo to catch the lottery firsthand, it felt like a free shot. How often does a number one seed in the East get an opportunity to bolster their lineup with a high level lottery pick? Fully expecting to land in the fifth or sixth slot, with such a clear void up front, we had thoughts or zeroing in on a legitimate center to pair alongside Ben Wallace – perhaps a Chris Kaman or Chris Bosh, with only dreams of landing Darko Milicic, who in a mostly pre-internet scouting era based on largely on hearsay, was supposedly Dirk Nowitzki with a post game and a mean streak.

As draft positions fourteen through four were revealed, we quickly realized a team card was missing from the mix – the Memphis Grizzlies. That meant the Grizzlies (and by proxy, the Pistons) had leapfrogged into the top three. Suddenly, we realized this may not be a Chris Kaman situation, but perhaps something bigger.

After a quick commercial break and live look-in to LeBron James’ lottery party, Darko sitting in front of various veggie dishes on a couch in New York and Carmelo Anthony’s living room (complete with auxiliary cords spilling out of the front of his television and a massively-sized gold trophy on his coffee table), deputy commissioner Russ Granik revealed the third pick… Denver Nuggets.

Now, it was down to two. For the Grizzlies, their heads-or-tails situation had become abundantly clear: either they were going to win the first pick and the subsequent rights to LeBron James, or they would forfeit everything, handing over their selection to the Pistons. Jerry West’s facial contortion told the story:

Jerry West

Indeed, Memphis landed in the second slot, ceding their selection to the Pistons in the process. Jubilation filled the Van Dusen household, as my buddy Kevin and I connected on a series of high fives while shouting things like, “DARKO BABY!”, “TIME FOR A CHAMPIONSHIP!”, and “WHAT COULD POSSIBLY GO WRONG NOW!?”

So young, so naive.

10 Moments That Defined the Pistons’ 2004 Championship Run

As has been making the rounds on the information superhighway of late, only three teams in NBA history have won an NBA championship without a single player on its roster who’d won an MVP award either prior, during, or following his squad’s championship run: the 1989 Pistons, 1990 Pistons, and the 2004 Pistons. Today, we’re … Read more