circumstances, Darko Milicic would be preparing to fill the Ben Wallace--sized
void in the Pistons' frontcourt. But Milicic is not interested in what might
have been. "I don't want to talk about Detroit," he says of the team
that took him in the 2003 draft. "That's over."
Milicic is more loquacious about his prospects with the Magic, who acquired him
from Detroit last February. "I feel like I'm here to play, not to sit on
the bench," he says. Indeed, in 30 games in Orlando, he got more minutes
(627) than he did in his entire 2 1/2-year career in the Motor City, and he
averaged a solid 7.6 points, 4.1 rebounds and 2.1 blocks. The Magic went 17--13
with Milicic in the fold, 10--2 when he scored in double figures.
expect Milicic, 21, to push his long stint as human seat warmer further into
the recesses of his memory. Over the summer he added 15 pounds of muscle (he's
up to 275) and was impressive playing for Serbia at the world championships.
(He averaged 16.2 points, 9.2 boards and a tournament-leading 2.8 blocks.)
"His body has improved," says new Magic assistant John Kuester, who was
with the Pistons during Milicic's rookie year. "He looks healthy, and he
looks strong." Milicic vows to use that bulk to complement Orlando's force
of nature down low, Dwight Howard. "I think Dwight can be the best player
in the league," says Milicic, "and I'm just happy to be next to
The Pistons visit
the TD Waterhouse Centre on Dec. 8. Then Milicic's old teammates will get a
chance to see just how happy--and productive--he is.
Starting Lineup with 2005--06 statistics
(10th in East)
94.9 (22nd in NBA)
with the Magic)