I've advocated for Chris Wilcox to be in the starting line up, but he definitely has deficiencies. And they were on full display yesterday as the Celtics time and time again couldn't get Ray Allen any decent looks to get him going early.
The entire success of the Celtics' half court offense is predicated on good screens from the bigs. Before Rajon Rondo even makes his first pass, the bigs need to set good, solid screens to make any aspect of the offense work.
When the screens are good, it forces the defense to make decisions. Do they switch? Do they go over the screen? Do they go under the screen? Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen have developed an incredible chemistry where they both can read what the defense is doing at the same time and make the same adjustments. If the defender goes under the screen, Ray just curls up and gets the ball about 15 feet out for either an open jumper or a pass down low to Kevin Garnett (among other options). If the defender starts to go over the screen, Ray goes to the corner where Rondo has the ball waiting for a corner 3. And if they switch, then the big has a mismatch and the play goes in a different direction. A mismatch on KG will bring a double team, and with Garnett's insane passing ability, he'll pick the D apart.
And those are just a few of the myriad of options that come with setting good screens. The misconception is that the screens just spring Ray Allen for open shots, but they do more than that. The action those screens create spring everyone at some point. And the better the ball movement, the more the defense gets pulled out of position, and the better the half court offense looks.
So this is all one huge set up for this video, showing Chris Wilcox setting some fo the most ineffective screens you'll ever see.
Wilcox is not alone. Jermaine O'Neal sets some pretty terrible screens too. It's the Celtics' most serious problem on offense. These are big guys, but they seem to shrink when it comes time to set a screen for Ray. Occasionally they'll set a halfway decent ball screen, but more often than not, they are shrinking away from the contact.
Maybe Wilcox is afraid to hurt his shoulder again if he takes some full-on contact by a defender trying to chase Ray down. Maybe it's the lack of practice time? Maybe it's something else. But the Boston Celtics NEED to get better at this or else the offense will stay stagnant. Don't point at Pierce, don't point at Rondo, don't point at Ray.
The Boston Celtics are giving up 86.5 points per game this month, yet they are a .500 team. When you give up 86.5 points per game, with the offensive options this team has, you should be on a 10 game winning streak.
For the Celtics to take advantage of the weapons they have, they need to do one of the most basic things in basketball… set good screens. The entire offense depends on these bigs doing the dirty work and hitting these defenders. Until they do that, this offense will continue to be terrible, and there will be almost nothing any of our offensive players can do about it.