When I called the first Killers album “crappy,” I was wrong (shoulda saved that opinion for their last two). When I guessed that ‘Lost’ was all in Hurley’s head, I was wrong. When I said that no Ben & Jerry’s flavor could ever top Phish Food, I was wrong (shout out to Americone Dream! Woot!) When I waited a few weeks to see “Batman Begins” because it couldn’t be better than the Tim Burton Batman films, I was wrong. And when I said that you should drop Darko Milicic and never look back, I was wrong. I should have said you should drop him and constantly watch for both his confidence and his minutes to rise and for his two-step baby hook to develop. Or maybe I should have just told you to stash him on your bench. Mea culpa. What can I say? I’m only half-human. I won’t be a full cyborg until they invent mechanical organs. Until they do, I’m just a human being with go-go-gadget limbs and the mistake-making part of me is still human.
The Minnesota center is averaging nearly 36 mpg in his last five along with 18/8.6/3.6 and 4.2 blocks. If this were Serge Ibaka or Kris Humphries or Chuck Hayes, many fantasy owners would be all over a guy producing like this. But he’s owned in only about 60 percent of leagues and it’s probably because the guy has been the punchline to tons of jokes that, frankly, were well worth a giggle lo these last few years. But Scrooge didn’t just say he was sorry to everyone to whom he had been grumpy in the past. He bought them turkeys and presents and gave them tuppence and haypennies and other old timey money. So consider this my tuppence to Milicic. The guy’s per36 numbers show that he’s been within a rebound of averaging a double-double in three of his previous seven seasons. they also show that he’s a blocking machine. Always has been. He’s averaged 2.6 blocks per 36 his entire career. But until this year, he’s never been given anything close to 36 minutes a game. He averaged 23 minutes twice, but his career average is 17. I can’t jump aboard the Darko Milicic bandwagon after just five games. I won’t. But I can kick the wagon’s tires. Ask what kind of mileage this puppy gets. Remark that maybe, just maybe, it rides like a dream once it’s one the road for a bit; after the driver shows confidence that it can reach its destination.* (*for the sake of this metaphor, I do feel compelled to note that one offshoot of never giving Darko much burn over the years is that he’s still prone to excessive fouling, which was his downfall last night, and so, might not actually be able to reach his, um, “destination.” But still … you get my point). I told you to drop Milicic because he’s worthless. Now I’m telling everyone across all leagues to pick him up because he’s not. I don’t like doing it. I don’t like thinking that perhaps David Kahn got one right. I’m not saying he did, I’m saying I’m considering the possibility that he did. Anyway, pick up Darko and apply him with care and patience.
Here’s what else went down in a crazy fantasy basketball night:
Kevin Love – The guy dropped 32/22 last night, he’s averaging over 20/14 on the season and I’m not sure he’s even second in line on his own team for the NBA’s Most Improved Player award.
Delonte West – Well, that was fun. Dude broke his wrist and will miss a handful of weeks. This isn’t as big for West owners as it is for Nate Robinson owners, because until Rajon Rondo returns (maybe Friday, maybe not) Sugar Nate and some schmoo named Avery Bradley are all the floor generals the C’s have left. No, don’t bother picking up Bradley. Yes, continue holding onto Robinson until Rondo returns.
Shaquille O’Neal – 25/11 in 22 mpg. Well hell, if you’re excited about owning Milicic, this must be November 2003. And if it’s 2003, why wouldn’t you own Shaquille O’Neal?
Tyrus Thomas - It’s a Thanksgiving surprise from Larry Brown! Be thankful for his giving Tyrus Thomas the starting center spot in which he dropped 26/11 and four blocks on the Knicks. And be thankful for T-Time giving a damn about making the opportunity count. Both are extremely rare occurrences. Now be thankful that it lasts the rest of the season. What? We can’t preemptively be thankful for things?
Jose Calderon – Shot 70 percent from the floor after I predicted his ceiling was somewhere around 13/6. I ask you, what’s more likely? That I’m wrong or that Calderon makes nearly three out of every four shots he takes from here on out?
Reggie Evans - Grabbed a career-best 22 rebounds to go along with a surprising 12 points. “Oh, that’s adorable.” – Kevin Love.
Evan Turner – The no.2 overall pick blew tonight (2/2/0 in 16 minutes), but he’s been averaging a respectable 10/6.5/2 as a starter, despite shooting horrifically. Considering he doesn’t have a horrific shot, I’d suggest being patient with him.
Brandon Jennings – He shot 10 percent from the floor and ended with three points and four assists. After starting out with a hot assist hand (8.5 in his first four games) he’s become Cool Hand Brandon (4.6 in his last 10).
J.J. Hickson – Two points. Five boards. Still starting over Antawn Jamison. Jamison, for his part, didn’t do much better, like when subjects before a king lower their head so as not to be higher than the crown. Cleveland reserves must play just slightly below the king. No, not that ‘King.’ Those jokes are, like, so summer 2010.
J.J. Redick – To stay with the J.J. theme, Redick took over for the injured Vince Carter and dropped 20/4/5 in 43 minutes. Also dropped? All the gunk he used to put in his hair. Now Marcin Gortat doesn’t hate playfully mussing his hair after every big three-pointer.
Brandon Bass – Career-high 18 points in 26 minutes. That’s a start but let this Bass bite on this line a few more times before reeling him in.
O.J. Mayo – Benchslapped! But not by any owners this time, by head coach Lionel Hollins. He went 9/1/2 in 23 minutes off the bench, but this smells more like a wake-up call to O.J. than a serious shift. Apparently Hollins just likes his lineup with no Mayo. Relax guys, George Tomato’n’onions is still in the clear.
Richard Hamilton – Ejected for the second time in a week. Meet the new ‘Sheed, same as the old ‘Sheed … except the old ‘Sheed got tossed for being angry at the refs or other players. The new ‘Sheed is getting tossed for the same reason employees bring a paperback book into the office bathroom for 20 minutes: because they can no longer stand the mind-numbing awfulness of their job.
Jason Maxiell – Charlie V played only 22 minutes so Maxiell could play 23. … I’m not going to write about the Pistons anymore this year.
James Jones - 0-for-5 from the floor (all from beyond the arc). Drop this threejerk like he’s cold.
Tyson Chandler – Season highs in points (17) and rebas (18) after Brendan Haywood went down with a leg injury. Haywood who? Hey would you stay on the bench so I can grab another seven or eight rebounds? ‘Kaythanks.
Kyle Lowry – He’s averaging 12.7/10 in his last three games and has looked as comfortable as anyone on the forever-shaky Rockets can look.
Chuck Hayes – 16/7/5 He played almost 29 minutes. It’s worth noting Brad Miller and Jordan Hill played a combined 7:37. It’s because Miller and Hill are slow and the Warriors are not.
Dorell Wright – Played all but three minutes and filled up every part of the box score with happy numbers.
Hakim Warrick – In case you were still weighing the worth of Warrick versus Turkoglu, Warrick played two more minutes and scored 13 additional points.
Grant Hill - Scored a season high 25 points. And even though it was a double overtime game and those tend to produce these kinds of numbers, Hill has scored 21+ points in three of his last four and is owned in fewer than half the leagues out there. C’mon, people!
Kyle Korver – 24/5/3 in over 47 minutes in this double-overtime doozey. He won’t get this many kind of burn again any time soon. In fact, he’s only seen 47+ minutes one other time in the last five seasons.
Derrick Rose - I don’t really need to comment on Rose’s 35/12/7 game. You already own him. Or wish you owned him. Or wish the guy you’re going head-to-head against didn’t own him. But wishin’ don’t make it so. If it did, I’d have already seen my Ty Lawson – Rondo – Rose footrace Olympiad long ago.