Wilcox hopes to overcome early struggles


Wilcox hopes to overcome early struggles

BOSTON There was plenty of disappointment in the Boston Celtics locker room following Friday's loss to the Indiana Pacers.

But few seemed to take the latest setback for the Green Team harder than Chris Wilcox.

That's because this game was like most this season, one in which the 6-foot-10 big man made little, if any, impact.

Wilcox, who played less than three minutes, provided just 1 point and zero boards and failed to provide the kind of high-energy, high impact plays the C's were hoping for when they signed him to a one-year deal for the full, miniature mid-level exception (3 million).

In five games, he is averaging career-lows in just about every category, including scoring (1.4) and minutes played (9) per game.

He'll be the first to tell you that he has to play better.

"Whatever it takes for me to get going, that's what I'm going to do," Wilcox told CSNNE.com. "I think I'm hurting the team right now."

Wilcox added, "I just got to get my mentals right; I gotta get right. I gotta get my confidence back."

You can blame it on his left shoulder injury, or being with a new team that has a goal in mind -- an NBA title -- that no team he has ever played for in the past ever seriously considered.

None of that matters.

He knows that the Celtics will need strong play from many, himself included, in order to continue its run among the top teams in the East.

But they'll need him to provide more than three minutes.

The lack of playing time was due to, more than anything else, his inability to give the second unit a lift. But head coach Doc Rivers is quick to come to the defense of Wilcox and the rest of the team's backup players, a unit that hasn't quite made the impact many were expecting.

"We do have to get more out of our bench," Rivers acknowledged. "That's on me. I have to find something that works for them, that we can give them. They're an energy group. They're not a scoring group."

Wilcox certainly falls into that category.

He has never averaged more than 14.1 points per game in a season, with most of his points usually coming on hustle plays or relatively close to the basket on dunks, easy put-backs or lay-ups.

When asked specifically about Wilcox, Rivers made it clear that the veteran big man's play was not something he was too worried about now.

"The guy, he missed a couple games," Rivers said. "He's working his way back. We're eight games into the year. So I'm not too concerned with that."

Despite his left shoulder still giving him problems, Wilcox refuses to use that as an excuse for his struggles.

"It's still sore, it still bothers me but at the end of the day I gotta go out there and play hard, man," Wilcox said. "I haven't been playing like myself. I know what I gotta do; I gotta get in the gym, get my work in and get better. It's that simple."

Celtics sign former Laker second-rounder Ryan Kelly

Celtics sign former Laker second-rounder Ryan Kelly

BOSTON – The Boston Celtics made one more roster move on Friday, but not the one many were anticipating.

Instead of trimming the training camp roster down to 15 players, the Celtics expanded it by signing Ryan Kelly.

The 6-foot-11 forward appeared in six games for the Atlanta Hawks during the preseason, averaging 4.8 points, 2.7 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game.

A former second round pick of the Los Angeles Lakers in 2013, Kelly has appeared in 147 games with career averages of 6.5 points, 3.3 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game.

Boston already has a stacked roster at the power forward/center position, which is why they decided to waive second round pick and former Providence College star Ben Bentil earlier on Friday.

The addition of Kelly, on the surface at least, doesn't make a lot of sense.

But the Celtics are trying to build a team for the present while keeping an eye on the future.

When the Celtics waived Bentil, they did so with the knowledge that he was unlikely to sign with their Development League affiliate, the Maine Red Claws.

But with Kelly, the veteran big man will likely wind up with the Red Claws which will allow the Celtics to get a closer look at him without impacting their roster status which is currently at 16, one above the league-maximum.

The final roster spot will come down to James Young and R.J. Hunter. The Celtics have until 5 p.m. Monday to make a decision, a decision that team officials have repeatedly said in recent days will come down to the wire.