Wilcox happy to play for contending Celts

Wilcox happy to play for contending Celts
December 11, 2011, 10:46 pm
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WALTHAM Chris Wilcox has no idea how much he'll play for the Boston Celtics this season. But playing time at this point in his career is not important.

Wilcox is in his ninth NBA season, with the previous eight ending the same: no trip to the playoffs. He said a chance to contribute on a playoff team was among the many things that made Boston so attractive to him.

The feeling was mutual, as Danny Ainge told the media today that the Celtics offered Wilcox their mini mid-level exception to come here.

"This would be my first chance playing for a team of this caliber," he said. "I was willing to take this opportunity to come out here to Boston."

The closest Wilcox came to the postseason was in 2006 with the Los Angeles Clippers.

But the Clippers had no love for him that year, shipping him out to Seattle (now Oklahoma City) on Valentine's Day for Vladimir Radmonovic.

His lack of postseason success is surprising when you consider his resume is filled with championship-caliber success at every stop.

In high school, he won a state title as a junior. At the University of Maryland, he was instrumental in the team's first national championship, in 2002. That success led to him being the No. 8 pick in the 2002 NBA draft.

But since then, Wilcox has rarely shown the consistency that comes with being a top-10 talent. In 576 NBA games (250 starts), he has career averages of 8.8 points and 5.1 rebounds while shooting 53.2 percent from the field. But in Boston, he won't be counted on to carry the team.

In fact, if he can put up numbers similar to his career averages, all involved would consider the season a successful one.

Ray Allen, who played one season (2006-2007) with Wilcox in Seattle, is happy to see the 29-year-old in a Celtics uniform.

"A lot of people don't know him," Allen said. "Just the fact that he was on the West coast most of his career and playing in Detroit where he didn't play a whole lot. A lot of people don't really know him, haven't had an idea of seeing him when he gets on the floor and seeing his athletic ability . . . it makes the team more exciting."

Allen believes one player who should benefit from Wilcox's presence, is point guard Rajon Rondo.

"It gives Rondo a different dimension, fast-break wise, especially with so many shooters out there," Allen said.

Head coach Doc Rivers has simple expectations for Wilcox.

"Energy, athleticism (and) running the floor," are the qualities Rivers believes Wilcox will provide the Celtics this season.

"Defensively, he can be solid for us," Rivers added. "He's got a good motor. So that's what we're expecting from him."

As for why Wilcox hasn't enjoyed more success in the NBA, Rivers said there's no rhyme or reason.

"I know here, the environment he's in, will help him," Rivers said. "Playing against Kevin (Garnett) everyday, has to help."

Rivers can see the changes in Wilcox in even something as simple as when he takes a water break.

"He's laughing today, I've not had a water break in three days," Rivers recalled Wilcox saying. "I said, 'You'll be saying that at the end of the year, too. You can go get it (water) whenever you want, but we're not going to break for 15 minutes so everybody can sit down and have water.' "

Apparently that was something new to Wilcox.

"That's the way it is," Rivers said. "He's getting used to it. I saw him today, four or five times grab a cup. I want you to drink water all practice; we're just not going to have a whole little seance about it."