Darko Milicic has fallen out of favor with Minnesota Timberwolves head coach Rick Adelman. Adelman left the Serbian center on the bench Wednesday despite being without other big man Nikola Pekovic.
Darko Milicic received a four-year contract worth $20 million in July of 2010. It seemed like a crazy idea to guarantee the Serbian center that much at the time, but crazy moves of David Kahn have actually yielded some positive results down the road.
That contract wasn't one of them, however.
Milicic is averaging 4.6 points and 3.3 rebounds in 29 games under Rick Adelman this season. The second overall pick in the 2003 NBA Draft began this season as the starter, but his playing time has dwindled ever since Nikola Pekovic broke out early in the season.
It seemed Milicic might be able to regain his position as the Wolves starting center due to the Nikola Pekovic injury that sent him home for the remainder of the roadtrip, but that won't be the case.
The Wolves decided to play smallball against the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday night, but the lineup featuring Kevin Love, Derrick Williams, Anthony Tolliver and Michael Beasley as the team's "bigs" didn't work out as planned. The Wolves lost by 16 points as Darko, Brad Miller and Anthony Randolph all earned DNP-Coach's Decisions.
It seems odd that neither of the three big men on the bench would receive at least some sort of playing time in a blowout loss, but Adelman stuck to the opinion he gave the Star Tribune's Jerry Zgoda during the pregame media availability.
"He hasn't done anything to really give you a lot of faith that he's going to go out and do the job," Adelman said of Milicic. "He's gotten himself out of shape. He hasn't been as driven as you'd like so when a situation like this happens, it's time for someone to have their opportunity and get back in there. Today, [Williams] going to get his chance and Anthony Randolph is going to get his chance and we'll see if any of those guys can step up."
Randolph never got his chance while Williams made four of his 12 shot attempts to finish with nine points and seven rebounds while being abused on defense on a couple of occasions, but that didn't lead to Adelman summoning Darko from the bench. Instead Adelman just stuck to his guns, allowing the young fellas to play out the loss.
It's an interesting move considering Milicic's psyche is known to be a bit frail, but maybe it'll get him motivated. If nothing else, it doesn't hurt to give the players that might still be developing more time on the court.