Tuesday, September 4, 2007

The Damir Markota Experience

You Can Find Anything on Youtube: The Complete Damir Markota Highlight Reel

I started referring to Bucks' second year PF/resident towel waver Damir Markota as the Damir Markota Experience (DMX) a little while ago, and if you're wondering why, look no further than some quotes DraftExpress found in a recent interview in the Croatian media:

Markota by the way, isn’t letting being the last man on Milwaukee’s bench discourage him from having a little bit of fun…at least according to a quote he gave Croatian newspaper “Nacional” last week. It appears to be Milwaukee’s fault that he’s having so much fun off the court in fact…

"If I had a chance to play, I would not go to the night clubs. In some way it was the team’s fault. When you know that you’re not getting any playing time, you’re not motivated. One or two nights out won't hurt…There is no pressure, nobody is harsh on you if you lose the game, if you play bad. You’re still getting the money. There is no pressure from fans."

After a pause he said: "Hopefully I’ll play more next season. No more fooling around."
So to recap, Charlie Bell's agent says he will probably play better this year if the Bucks don't reward him with a long-term deal, and Damir Markota will stop partying so hard if the Bucks promise him some PT. Ladies and gentlemen, your 2007/2008 Milwaukee Bucks! In fairness, Markota was supposedly having some fun with this, but his fondness for drinking seems to be common knowledge among Bucks insiders. Which is great to hear given that on draft night 2006 the Bucks gave the Spurs the better of their two second rounders in the '07 draft for the privilege of picking Markota 59th overall. Were the Spurs going to draft him regardless of the Bucks' offer? Or was someone else in the last couple picks of the second round really going to take him? Given everyone thought the '07 draft was going to be deep, the Bucks clearly had some very specific reasons for taking Markota when they did. While Markota had some excellent performances at the junior level, his effort level was always a question mark and he was hardly a can't miss prospect outside of that. Many have speculated that it was largely a move to appease Andrew Bogut, who had become buddies with Markota on the international circuit. That's very possible, but for the sake of the franchise you'd hope that setting up play-dates for Bogut isn't a top priority. In general it seems like that old George Bush joke also applies here: he's the kind of guy you'd want to go grab some beers with, but not necessarily a dude you want earning close to seven figures from your favorite team. I know, 15th man vs. commander-in-chief isn't the fairest of comparisons, but you get the idea.

From the limited burn he's gotten in the NBA as well as his summer league stint two months ago, it seems clear Markota is a long-shot to ever be a rotation player in the NBA. He's not a bad athlete but he lacks strength, has short arms and in general doesn't have any go-to NBA skills outside of a nice passing touch. Which, let's be honest, is of limited use given he's a big man who doesn't deserve touches when he's in the game. Mostly Damir just runs around setting half-assed screens and jacking up slow-mo 25-footers at the end of games. Watch the highlight reel above and you'll see what I mean--he's got the wind up of a little kid who needs all his strength to get the ball to the rim.

I know many hardcore fans would prefer we simply cut Markota and eat whatever guaranteed money is left on his deal (he's signed through 08/09, though I don't recall if any of that is NG'ed), but I'm skeptical that happens. Not that it doesn't make sense from a basketball standpoint, but my guess is the front office would rather not draw attention to their mistake. Unless Markota's off-court issues become such a major distraction that the team feels they have to send a message, I have to think they'd prefer to give him at least another year playing D-League ball in Tulsa and prove he can make something of himself. After all, as it stands most casual fans don't know a damn thing about him, making the mistake of trading for him a nice little secret between the franchise and its more hardcore fans (who actually waste time thinking about their 15th man...hey, guilty as charged). Cutting him now just makes that mistake obvious to everyone else. If it does happen I'll have a newfound respect for the front office, and if it doesn't...well, I'll understand.


alex said...

Ahh, the Damir Markota Experience... Now that's good stuff.

Anonymous said...

what a hilarious video...