BOSTON- The Boston Celtics made a ton of off-season moves in order to fix the problem of size and depth to the center and power forward position. The lack of depth the last few seasons with bigs has killed the Celtics during the NBA playoffs. The team being forced to use injured guys like Greg Stiemsma and stiffs like Ryan Hollins and Jermaine O’Neal hurt the productivity at those positions and forced the Celtics to burn out guys like Kevin Garnett and even Brandon Bass by extending their minutes.
The news of Kevin Garnett coming back was the first and most important domino to fall. After that move the team would bring back Brandon Bass. The flood gates were then opened up as the Celtics drafted rookies Fab Melo and Jared Sullinger and then signed Darko Milicic and Jason Collins. These moves generated a lot of media attention.
Lost in all the hoopla of these new faces and the returning ones was the fact Boston also signed Chris Wilcox to return to the team. The Wilcox move was quietly announced in conjunction with the other official signings of the team and thus took a lot of the attention away from Wilcox. However, Wilcox will have a huge impact on this Boston Celtics team this season.
One of the burning questions surrounding the Celtics training camp is who is going to be the primary backup for starting center Kevin Garnett. My money is on Wilcox being the answer to this very important question. Wilcox is easily the best option despite the recent signings at the position.
Any question of whether Wilcox should get the minutes are answered if one looks to last season. Before the heart ailment that ended his season, Wilcox was beginning to flourish as he finally looked to both understand the Celtics system at both ends and his role in this system. Wilcox played with great energy and often sparked the team with some spectacular hustle plays like streaking down the floor ahead of the pack and dunking the ball or coming from the weak side to block a shot or help defend. The result of his play was Wilcox earned a starting job on this team.
I do not think this training camp will be any different then last season. Wilcox has been deemed healthy and ready to go. Wilcox has a lot of advantages over his competition. Wilcox knows the team’s system and already has chemistry with guys like point guard Rajon Rondo Bass, and KG. These fact are huge as the other guys are going to be learning and trying to find out their notch and the team’s expectation level for their role. Wilcox knows what the team wants and expects and thus can just go out on the floor and both play and impress.
Wilcox also can add versatilely. Wilcox can play the power forward spot and thus give Boston a bigger lineup to matchup and rebound alongside KG at times. Wilcox is more than athletic enough and has surprising speed for a big man and can thus keep up with most power forwards.
The bottom line is much is being made by the Celtics signing of so many big men for their front court. The depth problems of last season is more than resolved. However, the new additions will not make the impact that Wilcox will make on this Celtics team. One can plan on Wilcox streaking down the middle and dunking the ball to provide that spark this season. Remember Go Green Or Go Home!!!!!!!!