Guys, things aren't going so well for Darko Milicic(notes) these days. "These days," of course, could mean pretty much any collection of 24-hour segments since the Detroit Pistons made Milicic the second overall pick in the 2003 NBA Draft, but for the purposes of this post, let's narrow the definition of the phrase to "the eight days since the Minnesota Timberwolves began the 2010-11 NBA regular season." Sound good? Excellent.
The Wolves have stumbled to a 1-4 start over those eight days, and Darko's been an offensive abomination, averaging 2.8 points per game on just 14.3 percent shooting. He didn't make a field goal in Wednesday's loss to the Orlando Magic or Tuesday's loss to the Miami Heat, and he's only hit four shots in five games.
Naturally, the slump has Darko, and Timberwolves coach Kurt Rambis, pretty bummed.
From the St. Paul Pioneer Press:
"It's really frustrating to be going through this," Milicic said. "I don't know what's wrong with my shot. I can't throw it in the ocean. I'm struggling bad the last few games. This is not going to get us anywhere."
Rambis admitted before Wednesday's game that Milicic is having confidence issues.
"He still looks to me like he's not secure with himself," Rambis said. "I want him to get to a point where he's comfortable. Some of it is confidence. Some of it is technique."
It's understandable that Darko would feel like this — there's the additional pressure that comes with signing a new four-year, $20 million deal over the summer, and as Shane Falco famously philosophized, in-game failure has a way of compounding and make you feel like you're sinking in quicksand. It's a tough spot to be in, and frankly, I think we should help. I've come up with some positive reminders that might be able to help Darko get his groove back; feel free to add yours in the comments.
1. Four years from now, you will have $20 million. That is so much money. Way to go, dude!
2. You're in the NBA, which means that even if you're not playing well, you're way better at basketball than almost everybody else in the world. That's got to feel pretty good, right?
3. Let's not get crazy — you can definitely throw the ball in the ocean. There's so much water there, and the ball is so little by comparison. Wait, is Dwight Howard(notes) there? No? OK, you can definitely throw the ball in the ocean.
6.You're hitting 66.7 percent of your free throws, which is not that great, but is still about eight points higher than your really-not-that-great career average. Great job, champ!
See, Darko? It's not so bad. Cheer up, li'l shaver. You'll be back to scoring eight points per game in no time. I plomise.
- Kurt Rambis