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Chris Wilcox: 2012-13 Final Grade

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

  • Josh_5

    "Fab Melo, whose long term upside probably involves ‘evolving’ into a poor man’s Hasheem Thabeet."

    ^^ OUCH!! Haha I lmao at this but wow what a death sentence!

  • elroz

    wow….I don't know if Fab Melo is that bad. If he is – then Danny MUST ship his $1.2 million salary asap.. Release him along with JET, Crawford, and D.J. White – and you'll have $10 million freed for next season.

    But I think we will see something good from Fab.

    • hax

      Agree mostly. Except I'd rather trade to move up in the draft or something than just release guys. I believe Crawford has starter talent, but Doc would have to pull off some amazing coaching with him.

  • hydrofluoric

    Wilcox had heart surgery last year, like 3 months AFTER Jeff Green had his. Green took at least 12 months to acclimate, yet somehow Wilcox gets absolutely no slack whatsoever.

    Guy never had a super-high ceiling, but he's a bit better than he's played, and it's a shame that the courage he's showing in returning from heart surgery is being 'rewarded' with the sarcastic aplomb we see on CelticsHub.

    • CelticsBIG3

      Dude he's really just not very good. He's an anemic rebounder and he can't defend. There's a reason he never was on a playoff team until this year and has now seen 12 TOTAL minutes of floor time in the playoffs in a 10 year career.

      • hydrofluoric

        I know he isn't very good – but he was better last year (probably at least in part due to Rondo) and he's better than he played this season.

        And yes, he has never been on a playoff team. Guy quite obviously isn't good enough to CARRY a bad team into the playoffs; he's like an 8th man at best. And yeah, he didn't get on the floor this year, but 1. as I said, he's still recovering from surgery and 2. neither did Shavlik Randolph.

        • CelticsBIG3

          Well Randolph isn't much/if at all better than him either. Look if Wilcox was worth his weight SOME TEAM in a 10 year career would have snagged him up to help in the playoffs. After all what is the season really about aside from being one of the best 8 teams in your conference so that you can play for a title?

          • dslack

            As I've mentioned before, the Celtics were 2 net points better per 48 minutes with Randolph on the court than with him off the court (net per 48 ± with him on the court: +1.8; net ± per 48 with him off the court: –0.2). So it's not like he was killing the team while he was out there.

  • janos

    who this guy. he is nba celtics ?

  • Kafel

    D is generous… Really didn't understand why Danny sign him again..

    • CelticsBIG3

      Felt bad for him?

  • check12check

    I remember seeing flashes of him last season and my brother and I were both excited about the prospect. He was efficient, athletic, and we didn't yet know about his D. after having seen more game time from him, I'm pretty convinced he is not a good solution as a big. love his putbacks, but big men hold a higher responsibility for defense than guards, and Wilcox is so bad on D that not even the KG bandaid can cover that gaping hole. with his physical gifts, he should be at least a capable defender, but he seems like he can't understand the rotations that the Cs run.

    I hope Melo can become a contributor for the team. From what I understand, he would have to develop quite a bit this off-season for that to be a reality though. We need at least one capable big body though as KG is not getting any younger for the 2013-2014 campaign. Melo might get thrown out there and asked to develop as he plays