All day today I had a nagging feeling, well not so much a nagging feeling as much as a feeling of certain impending doom. I spent the day expecting something cartoonish to happen, something like an anvil falling on my head, or opening up my casebook and having a snake pop out and start biting me. Well, just when I thought I had made it through the day safely I checked ESPN.com and saw that the Pistons had traded Darko Milicic. Actually it wasnt that dramatic, OK it was about .0001% as dramatic, but still it was a shock to the system to see the former no. 2 pick in the NBA draft gone after 2 and a half seasons. So in honor of the soon departed Darko (unless the trade falls through and makes this post completely irrelevant) I thought I would run through a quick timeline of the Darko Era in Detroit.
August 7th, 1973: The Pistons trade a decomposing Otis Thorpe to the Vancouver Grizzlies for a conditional 1st round pick, which the Grizzlies will roll over for what seemed like the next 30 years. For the draft pick the Grizzlies get a half season of Otis Thorpe doing Otis Thorpe things, before they trade him for Bobby Hurley and a stable full of Tennessee Walking Horses. In retrospect this deal turned out brilliantly for the Grizz.
Fall 2002: Chad Ford writes over 100 columns about Darko Milicic. Feeling confident after successfully introducing the world to another 7 foot Euro phenom by the name of Nikoloz Tskis, no Skiti, wait Tstksh..........forget it, this guy Ford favorably compares Darko to both Hakeem and KG. Of course the competition in Darko's league were a bunch of 40 year old chain smoking Euros, which is like me dropping 30 on a convalescent center rec team.
Spring 2003: The balls bounce the Pistons way as the Grizzles draw the second pick in the draft, which gets rolled over to the Pistons in what analysts predict will be one of the best drafts at the top in years. The prospects include LeBron James, the consensus No.1, Chris Bosh, NCAA champ Carmelo Anthony, Dywane Wade, and Darko. After six months of reading Darko story's on ESPN Insider I'm legitimately excited about Darko, who Chad Ford has now said is a more talented and tougher version of Dirk, Hakeem, KG, Tim Duncan and Jesus Christ.
June 26 2003: The Pistons draft Darko, Chad Ford gives the Pistons an A+ for their selection. Darko gives one of the all time great post draft interviews, by refusing to use an interpretor, making Ivan Drago look like Henry Clay and giving the immortal answer to the question of growing up in a war torn country "Make me strong." I contemplate laying down $100 on a Darko jersey, realizing I don't have a $100 I decide against it.
2003-04 Season: Darko provides nothing but is still an intriguing prospect. His teammates rave about his skills and attitude. Pistons win the championship. The always hateable Karl Malone retires with one less ring then a kid who wasnt born when he started plaing and has tape protecting his ear lobes. He immediately retires to pursue a lifelong dream of hunting Mexican girls.
2004-05 Season: Darko slowly becomes exposed as a fraud. Openly bitches about his role on the team and finds his way into Larry Browns dog house. He begins to be greeted by mock cheers, earns the nickname Human Victory Cigar, and is consistently stuffed by the rim. Meanwhile Lebron, Carmelo, Wade, and Bosh begin to establish themselves as legitimite superstars, and the Pistons fall just short of a second NBA title.
Feb. 2005: I cancel my subscription to ESPN.com by submitting my Chad Ford manifesto, which ESPN promptly returns to me.
2005-present: The departure of Larry Brown gives Darko a new lease on his career in Detroit where he vows to work hard to be part of the rotation. After starting the season getting regular minutes Darko gets nearly as many fouls as points and finds himself quickly becoming the answer to the trivia question
Who was the 2nd pick of the 2003 NBA draft?
A: Carmelo Anthony
B: Yao Ming
C: That kid in the back who washes dishes, you know Marko, Darko......something.
So anyways Darko is now with the Magic (probably) and all joking aside its probably best for both teams. The Pistons will get cap room from Cato's expiring contract to re-sign Chauncey and Ben who are both young enough to justify long term expensive contracts, (which if your scoring at home, and who isnt, means the Pistons passed on Carmelo, Wade, and Bosh for cap room and Kelvin Cato), and Orlando gets to try ouy Darko next to Dwight Howard for the rest of this season. The Pistons will also throw in Carlos Arroyo and receive another lottery protected pick to try there hand again, and somewhere Chad Ford is scouting for the next big thing.