With the season over and the draft still more than a month away, we're taking a look back and assessing the season that was. That's right - it's report card time! Ninth in the series – Chris Wilcox.
Stat line: 4.2 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 0.5 bpg, 13.6 mpg, 71.9 FG%, 67.2 FT%
Any grade on Wilcox’s performance this past season ought to begin with an acknowledgement that he underwent major heart surgery in March 2012 and while his teammate Jeff Green’s own recovery received a good more publicity, Wilcox’s return – not just to full health, but to the most elite basketball league on the planet – is no less admirable.
Yet, while Green’s overall performance was worthy of the Comeback Player of the Year award (if such an award still existed), Wilcox took a step back.
In his 11th season in the NBA, the former Maryland Terp averaged just 13.6 minutes per game, down from 17.2 a year ago and saw his per-36-minute scoring, rebounding and block averages all decline. Besides Denver point guard Julyan Stone, who made the only two field goals he attempted this season, Wilcox led the league with a 71.9 field goal percentage but that has more to do with his extraordinarily limited offensive game than to anything else. (Technically, Wilcox also fails to qualify for league leader in field goal percentage, falling far short of the requisite 300 field goals made.) Without a midrange game to speak of, an incredible 92% of his shots came within three feet of the basket.
But it is on defense where Wilcox really struggled, to the point where the Celtics tried to trade him in the Leandro Barbosa for Jordan Crawford deal. Wilcox exercised his no-trade clause to nix the deal but he played sparingly down the stretch, including just six minutes in the entire playoff series against the Knicks.
In May, Wilcox suggested to the Boston Herald that his poor performance might be the result of having returned to quickly from his surgery.
“I wasn’t me, you know what I mean?” Wilcox said. “So I want to come back healthy. I want to come back and be healthy right from the start of training camp and get a preseason in and find my way from the beginning. I think me being hurt and just rushing everything kind of put a toll on me and had me sitting when I could have been playing. I mean, I’ve just got to go back to the drawing board, get healthy and get ready.”
Wilcox becomes a free agent this summer and has said publicly that he would like to re-sign with the Celtics. Wilcox’s athleticism and willingness to run the floor is unique among Boston’s big men and he makes a great target for Rajon Rondo lobs, but given his poor performance this past season and his history of defensive struggles, it’s unlikely he will be back in green.