On the recent Celtics road trip through Turkey and Italy, maybe Darko
reconnected with his Serbian roots. Maybe he just loves Italy. Maybe he wanted
some free Armani suits or sunglasses. In any case, his performance against Empirio
Armani was nothing short of dominant. Darko’s box score gave us a glimpse of his
strengths. In 19 minutes, he blocked 4 shots, grabbed 9 rebounds, and added 3 assists.
Upon the Celtics return to the states, Darko has played sparingly. In the Celtics
preseason game with the Knicks on October 13, he was on the court for seven minutes.
Against the Sixers a few nights later, the minutes were back but the production wasn’t.
Darko sat out this Tuesday’s game with the Brooklyn Nets due to a wrist injury that has
been reported as “minor,” but has also required a cortisone shot. He did not see the court
in either game this week against the Brooklyn Nets. Jason Collins, Darko’s chief rival
for minutes at the backup center spot, played 9 minutes on Tuesday and 14 on Thursday.
Fab Melo, who will most likely head up I-95 to Portland, Maine to get seasoning in
the D-League and perhaps learn some a few post moves, has averaged 6 minutes per game
during the preseason. Chris Wilcox, another potential competitor for minutes at center,
has been fighting back spasms throughout the early going, and is still working his way
back from heart surgery.
On a non-Darko note, Jeff Green has been doing exactly what the Celtics have hoped,
displaying his athleticism, his willingness to run and take the ball straight to the hoop,
and get to the foul line. Green’s return from his own heart surgery has been uplifting.
In addition, Green can take defensive pressure away from Pierce by guarding both forward
positions, and using his length and strength to give quality defensive minutes off the bench.
If Green can consistently hit a mid-range jumper and/or a corner three, he becomes an even
bigger threat for the Celtics this year.
Back to Darko
Before the Celtics tip off with the Miami Heat on Tuesday night, October 30th,
wouldn’t it be nice to see him produce another 20 minute, 3 block, 8-10 rebound game?
Let’s hope the wrist heals quickly and doesn’t become a nagging injury.