Chris Wilcox Is Providing Some Energy For The Celtics
Chris Wilcox was just supposed to be another big man who could provide some depth inside when the Boston Celtics signed him last December after the lockout. After early season struggles, Wilcox developed some chemistry with point guard Rajon Rondo. They became a force in transition in February.
Then Wilcox underwent surgery for an aorta in his heart in March. He was forced to watch his teammates make a run to the Eastern Conference finals and lose to the Miami Heat in seven games. This was tough for Wilcox, especially since Wilcox had never been on a team that went to the postseason for the 11-year veteran out of the University of Maryland.
In July, the Celtics brought Wilcox back at the veteran’s minimum. Both sides were happy because the 6-foot-10-inch center/power forward enjoyed being a part of the Celtics and the Celtics felt that Wilcox’s athleticism and speed down the court would help the team.
The only concern was Wilcox’s conditioning after the season-ending surgery. Would he provide the same production before the procedure or would Wilcox struggle to find his game? It didn’t help matters that Wilcox missed nearly a month in the preseason with a back injury. He returned to practice on October 24th. The answer is the former as Wilcox started the 2012-’13 season where he left off last year.
The 30-year-old journeyman is averaging 4.9 points in 11.3 minutes per game. Despite being held out of the exhibition schedule and the first game of the season against the Heat, Wilcox has regained his bond with Rondo. The two continue to hook up for alley-oops off of pick-and-rolls, including two in the 98-93 victory over the Utah Jazz on Wednesday.
He is shooting 83.3% from the field even though they are mostly dunks or lay-ins. Wilcox is hitting nearly 78% from the free throw line.
The only issue with Wilcox has been rebounding. He is only averaging just below two rebounds per game. Throughout Wilcox’s career, he has always been inconsistent so the Celtics just need him to stay healthy and remain consistent on both ends of the court.
Just eight months after a significant issue, the fact that Wilcox is playing is amazing. His teammate Jeff Green went through a similar issue last although Green’s heart condition was detected about a year ago just before the 2011-’12 season began on Christmas. Both players are key contributors off the bench and they helped the Celtics win three straight before their loss to the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday.
The Celtics are hoping to contend for their 18th championship and they will need Wilcox to continue to be a presence on the court.