There are a number of contextually-appropriate ways to craft this post.
One would be to forgo words entirely, and represent Chris Wilcox’s entire season with a series of videos. That would involve one part of this:
For every eight parts of this:
Note the headline on that second clip. Someone was so amused/enraged by Wilcox’s defense that he uploaded 10 separate clips of his terrible defense. I can only assume it was a CelticsHub reader.
Another way to look at it would be to consider Boston’s trade deadline move for Jordan Crawford. Despite his obvious skills as a dive man and physically appropriate makeup for an NBA big, the Celtics were more interested in moving Wilcox to the Wizards than Jason Collins, one of the league’s most abominable offensive players and Fab Melo, whose long term upside probably involves ‘evolving’ into a poor man’s Hasheem Thabeet.
A third way to approach a season wrap would be to try and draw some insight from the final games where Wilcox was eligible to play. So, let’s flash back to the first round against the Knicks when Brandon Bass was struggling to stay on the floor while covering Carmelo Anthony and Doc Rivers was absolutely desperate for anyone to plug up the 4/5 spots.
Here’s how Wilcox fared the night the Celtics were eliminated in game 6:
Here are his contributions the last four games of the series:
What’s staggering about this is that Chris Wilcox was the most efficient per-possession scorer in the entire NBA in 2012-13.
You read that right.
Wilcox put up an average of 1.2 PPP and shot 71.9% from the field overall, much of that as a result of putbacks off the offensive glass (where he was third in the league) and as a roll man (where he was, again, first).
It’s not a total shock. Wilcox is more frustrating than some of the other fringe bigs on the roster because for brief stretches he appears to be a rotation player. If you catch him on the right night, he looks like a legit weapon, the kind of guy who can run the floor, finish at the rim and protect it.
But he can’t create his own shot. Or shoot anywhere but from point blank range. Or do it consistently.
And then there’s the defense.
That’s what doomed him in Rivers’ eyes. Over the course of the year, Wilcox was responsible for dozens and dozens of blown rotations, soft closeouts, half-hearted pick and roll coverages and eventually, you could assume a certain sequence of events when Wilcox checked into the game:
1) He would appear alert and capable on defense until the ball was inbounded.
2) He would stick with his man for awhile on defense. Mostly.
3) After a few passes he would lose interest or get confused. Sometimes both, which is its own special kind of efficiency.
4) The other team would cash in on Wilcox’s error with an easy basket.
5) Unnamed CelticsHub writers would send invective-laden emails to each other cursing the day Wilcox was born.
After a few minutes of this kind of thing, Rivers would anchor Wilcox to the bench where he’d often spend the entire second half. It doesn’t matter how well you optimize Rajon Rondo’s passes if you give the points back on defense every second trip down the floor.
Look, I don’t know if Wilcox is a lazy defensive player or just has a low-basketball IQ. I wish we could get Kevin Garnett on the record on that topic but it’s almost irrelevant at this point, because in two seasons with the Celtics, Wilcox rendered himself a liability and an afterthought. He won’t be back next season and the C’s will be better for it.
CelticsHub Grade: D