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Wilcox Still Struggling to Make a Difference

November 21, 2005|Jason Reid | Times Staff Writer

Forward-center Chris Wilcox has displayed flashes of the potential that prompted the Clippers to select him with the eighth overall pick in the 2002 draft.

And that's the problem.

The 6-foot-10, 235-pound Wilcox has not developed as the team envisioned, and he's off to another slow start.

Wilcox had only one rebound in seven minutes and didn't play in the second half of Sunday's 113-101 victory against the Golden State Warriors. He also grabbed only one rebound in 13 minutes in Friday's 97-91 victory over the Lakers.

Post players are expected to average at least one rebound every three to four minutes in Coach Mike Dunleavy's grading system. Wilcox averages four points and 2.8 rebounds in 12.8 minutes.

The former Maryland standout's minutes have decreased recently because of his subpar "effort" statistics, but Dunleavy said he remained hopeful about Wilcox.

"I've made it clear what guys have to do," Dunleavy said. "I've made it clear what's expected of them to play."

Point guard Sam Cassell, among Wilcox's closest friends, said part of the problem is that Wilcox plays behind Elton Brand.

"Chris is playing behind one of the best power forwards in the league," Cassell said. "People have to understand that there aren't too many power forwards playing better basketball in the league than E.B.

"Chris is playing behind a guy who's going to be on the court a lot. It's hard to get on the court for three or four minutes, and do the things that we need him to do, but he's going to keep working."

Cassell has done his part to help, staying after practice to work with Wilcox.

"It's going to happen for him," Cassell said. "It's not a sprint, it's a marathon, and who knows what's going to happen next week or the week after that.

"But once somebody knocks on the door, you have to answer it, and that's my whole thing to him. There's going to be a time when he's going to play 28, 30 minutes, and he has to answer then."

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