Consider it a showcase for the European scouts whose teams will be bidding on his services for next season -- Darko Milicic is expected to be in the starting lineup for the Timberwolves tonight against Dallas.
The reason for the sudden promotion is Al Jefferson is serving a two-game suspension for a drunk driving arrest. But the chance to start follows the increased minutes Milicic has gotten in Minnesota since he came over at the trade deadline.
Why Milicic alongside Ryan Hollins and Ryan Gomes in the frontcourt rather than, say, Hollins and Kevin Love as starters?
“I like Kevin coming off the bench,” (Wolves coach Kurt) Rambis said. “It could be just a short minute thing. I think Darko provides us somebody who can pass the basketball, and I like the things Ryan Hollins has done early in a lot of games. I like him being able to run the floor. They [opponents] don’t like to deal with his post sprinting, so hopefully that’s something we can take advantage of.”
Milicic has played 24 minutes a game the last couple, which frankly is more than his body is ready for after three months of never touching the court in New York. Rambis seems to be trying to play him into shape.
Milicic’s numbers in Minnesota are not really any better than they have been at any other stop in his seven NBA seasons -- his below-average shooting percentage, inability to get to the line, solid rebounding and excessive turnovers are all still there. He has yet to wow anybody.
But he is getting one last shot from Minnesota to change that impression