Mar 02, 2012; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Celtics power forward Chris Wilcox (44) drives the ball to the basket in the first half against the New Jersey Nets at the TD Banknorth Garden. The Celtics defeated the Nets 107- 94. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-US PRESSWIRE
But wait, there's another big man on the team that very likely has more talent than any of those other 3. Chris Wilcox is probably the best scorer of that bunch and absolutely has the best athleticism, in particular running the floor.
Now that Kevin Garnett has made the switch to full time center, he's not going back to the 4 any time soon. He's quite simply the best option the Celtics could possibly have and probably (still) one of the best 5's in the game.
Beyond him is a bit of a mystery. Our own wjsy did a masterful job of illustrating the center by committee approach the Celtics have employed since Perkins left town. This year's edition of the revolving door involves no less than 4 big man options.
There's the raw kid from Syracuse that nobody expects to play right away. Then there's Jason Collins, who is expected to be our defensive specialist. And even with those two around, there was enough concern about the big man depth to bring in Darko Milicic for a "last chance to rescue a career" turn in Boston.
But wait, there's another big man on the team that very likely has more talent than any of those other 3. Chris Wilcox is probably the best scorer of that bunch and absolutely has the best athleticism, in particular running the floor. Listed at 6'10 and 235 lbs, he's not going to tower over other centers or dominate them with size. What he can do, however, is keep up with the faster, more athletic lineups the Celtics will face. The Miami Heat come to mind.
Collins and Darko are available to play a more traditional post-center lineup, but when it comes to smallball, you could do a lot worse than having Chris Wilcox and Jeff Green running ahead of Rajon Rondo looking for alley-oop opportunities.
I think a lot of people (myself sheepishly included) are indeed "sleeping on" Wilcox, if only because of the "out of sight, out of mind" perspective. We've only had short glimpses of a full speed Wilcox, since he battled minor-ish injuries for the first part of the year and then he was shut down for his heart condition. In between, he developed a nice little chemistry with Rondo, where the two would connect on "just throw it at the rim and I'll convert" type plays, even in the half court.
The Celtics haven't had a great offense for the last few years. Their defense has carried them for the most part. This year's team should be better, but to fully take advantage of this squad's talents, they'll have to get out in transition and pick up some easy points For perhaps the first time, Rondo has some younger legs to run with him. Lee, Bradley, Green, and Wilcox can all get down the court in a hurry. Here's hoping that they get plenty of opportunities and execute properly.
So a lot of attention is going to be paid to Darko's reclamation project, and Jason Collins is the other new guy. But chances are pretty good that Chris Wilcox is going to get a lot of time at center - in particular in smaller lineups. Don't sleep on Chris. He could very well have a very nice year for us.