Until recently, Chris Wilcox has either been too hurt or too out of shape to contribute much. That was unfortunate because he is one of the few on the team that can play center and we used the mid level exception to pick him up. So it is very encouraging to see him start to come around.
Even though he had 14 points and 6 rebounds in last night's effort, Doc Rivers believes that he really started playing well on Thursday.
The numbers didn’t jump off the page for Chris Wilcox on Thursday night in Orlando. In nearly 19 minutes of action, he only scored four points and collected one rebound during the Celtics comeback win over the Magic. But it was the type of performance coach Doc Rivers felt was critical to getting his injury-riddled big man some much-needed momentum going forward. "He was great," Rivers said. "I thought he was one of the unsung heroes from [Thursday] night. He’s figured out that he’s not going to beat anybody with height so he plays his defense before the guys gets the ball. I thought he had four or five deflections on Dwight [Howard], and before he could get the ball up [Wilcox] already had his hands on the ball."
And it sounds like the best is yet to come with Wilcox as well. Like Paul Pierce was a week or two ago, Wilcox is still trying to get into shape.
"I was a little winded,’’ he said, "but it was a good one.’’ Said Celtics coach Doc Rivers: "The last two games, Chris has been - you know, if he could play with an oxygen tank, he’d be phenomenal. He was absolutely dying out there. But he’s still giving us the time and he’s doing everything for us, which is terrific.’’ When he was apprised about Rivers’s playful oxygen-tank remark, Wilcox replied, "Yeah, next time I’m going to go out there with one on my back.’’
If he can get into better shape and fully grasp the role that Doc Rivers wants him to play, I think he could be a very valuable part of our bench rotation going forward.