A year after a heart condition derailed a promising start, it looks like Chris Wilcox is back in the mix with our Boston Celtics. Something tells me that Rajon Rondo doesn’t care if Wilcox is Plan B, C or D, because Rondo and Wilcox were definitely in sync until an enlarged aorta knocked Wilcox out of commission. Wilcox, who was the Celtics’ most athletic big, could run the floor with Rondo and was on the receiving end of several alley-oop dunks. So you gotta think that Rondo likes the signing, which is believed to be a one-year deal and the veteran minimum.
Danny Ainge has been limited in his quest for size in the paint. His first priority was the re-signing of Kevin Garnett. He wanted Greg Stiemsma back in the fold, and early on it was a foregone conclusion that the Celtics would be able to bring him back, but Stiemsma is getting some serious attention from the Minnesota Timberwolves. Minnesota is believed to be offering more money than the Celtics, and the cap-strapped C’s will probably be forced to let Stiemsma walk.
Wilcox, however, gives the Celtics a big with a little more diversity on the offensive end of the court. He can rebound and defend, and he may be able to stay out of foul trouble – something that the shot-altering Stiemsma was unable to do last season.
So, what does the big man situation look like at the moment? Kevin Garnett will likely play center and power forward, depending on the opponent and the situation. Wilcox will be a key reserve off the bench, and he too should see action at both spots. Same with Jared Sullinger. Fab Melo? We’ll see how much he actually plays once the games start to count, but he’ll play the five spot exclusively. It’s a committee of big men, and Doc Rivers will figure out the best rotation to get the most out of this group. The good thing is that Jeff Green is capable of playing both forward positions, which will help give Rivers some additional depth at power forward.
The question on everyone’s mind, of course, is the heart. For an organization that has lived through the deaths of Len Bias and Reggie Lewis, any heart-related medical condition is certain to cause concern, both for the organization and for the fans. Both Green and Wilcox are returning from aorta surgeries, but the prognosis for both has been excellent. That’s great news for the Celtics, who need both players in the mix if the C’s are going to remain competitive in the Eastern Conference.
And if Wilcox is able to play at a high level, the Celtics could be in the championship mix come playoff time.