Chris Wilcox Emerges as the Perfect Reserve Big Man for the Celtics

Patrick BusconeSenior Analyst INovember 18, 2012

Nov 14, 2012; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Celtics guard Jason Terry (4) talks with forward/center Chris Wilcox (44) during the first quarter at TD Banknorth Garden.  Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-US PRESSWIRE

The play was perfectly executed: Chris Wilcox came and set the pick for Rajon Rondo near the top of the key, then immediately rolled to the hoop. Rondo put the pass on the money and Wilcox effortlessly threw the ball through the hoop with one hand. 

It wasn't anything the Raptors hadn't seen before, it was just a simple pick-and-roll—the same play that youth-basketball coaches around the world are probably teaching their players as we speak.

But, there's a reason that the Boston Celtics and every middle school team in the country use this simple play: It works—that is, if the players can execute it right. 

For Chris Wilcox and Rajon Rondo, the execution is so precise that they were able to run it three times against the Raptors and score with ease each time. 

Naturally, most of the credit will go to Rajon Rondo, because let's face it, he's the best passing point guard we've seen in a long time. But I'd be more inclined to defer the credit to Wilcox. 

In general, Wilcox deserves a lot of credit, not just for going up and getting the alley-oops for Rajon Rondo, but for everything he is doing for the Celtics, especially under his circumstances. 

Last season, he and Rajon Rondo started to develop this connection in a February game against the Bulls. After that game, Wilcox began to really contribute to the Celtics. 

His contributions were short-lived, though, as about one month after that Bulls game, he found out that he had a heart condition requiring surgery. He soon had it, but there were no guarantees coming out of surgery. 

No one knew if we would ever see him finish an alley-oop again. Yet, here we are, less than a year later, watching Wilcox play like he did in that Bulls game—only with a surgically repaired heart and presumably nothing more to hold him back. 

On the court, at least, there is nothing holding him back from providing the Celtics with the exact kind of frontcourt depth they need. 

For the past seven games, Wilcox has come off the bench for around 15 minutes and scored six points or more while grabbing a few boards. 

He's not just scoring, though—he is doing it about as efficiently as possible, shooting an incredible 72.7 percent on the season. 

And on top of all that, he also leads the team in total plus/minus with a plus-33. 

The Celtics would be hard pressed to find another big man that can come in for just 15 minutes, hit 72.7 percent of his shots, score six or more points, grab a few rebounds, give size on the defensive end and provide a distinct, positive impact on every game. 

I could not be any happier to report that Chris Wilcox is playing about as well as anyone in his limited role. A couple months ago, I didn't know if I would be able to say that. 

Even when he recovered from surgery and returned to the C's, there were still no guarantees that we would ever see Wilcox at full strength again.

Well, he is back and truly better than we've ever seen him as a Celtic. He has overcome the odds to return and play the way he has.

And now, he, as much as anyone, is helping the Celtics win games. In a few months' time, perhaps, with the help of Wilcox, the Celtics, too, will be able to overcome the odds stacked against them and bring home Banner 18.