Last year, with a limited big man rotation, Doc Rivers relied on Chris Wilcox a lot (when he was healthy). He played very well, in particular in transition and he's shown flashes in his career of great potential. So much so, that he's considered a bargain at the veteran's minimum salary he will earn this year. But he's been somewhat of a forgotten man this year with his back issues sidelining him all preseason thus far.
But the depth chart has changed. As Wilcox watched from his exercise bike, Rivers went to work lining up his reserves. Rookie Jared Sullinger has played well enough to command a least the first backup role at power forward. Jeff Green, who has seemingly played everywhere, filled the so-called No. 4 spot in smaller lineups. Kevin Garnett now has two very solid backups at center in Darko Milicic and Jason Collins. Wilcox would seem to be a little late to the party. "I don’t know where he fits in," Rivers said. "It’s up to him. There’s a lot of jobs open in a lot of ways, and I think it will be that way all year. I love the competition."
So where does Wilcox fit in? How will he earn his playing time?
For one thing, he has to get back to developing that running chemistry with Rajon Rondo. He could play along side Jeff Green to create quite a double lane filling combination for Rajon - who would also still have the option of kicking out to a trailing Courtney Lee or Jason Terry.
In my mind it will be down to matchups. When they need to go big, it will be Darko seeing time at center. When they want to run, it will be Wilcox. And maybe if Sullinger is struggling against more athletic bigs, Wilcox can be the release valve for Doc. It will be interesting to see how he's used, in particular because the back issue has not allowed Doc to put him into this revamped lineup yet.
I have a strong feeling that we'll need Chris to step up at some point this year - even if it isn't a major role right away.