Unlike Fitch, KC Jones May Actually Use Employee #8

1983-84 Boston Celtics

He was an extra piece of cord wood stacked against the kitchen wall. He was hot fudge you didn't need on top of your favorite ice cream. When the Celtics acquired Scott Wedman last January, the league-wide question was, "What are they going to do with him?" The answer turned out to be, "Nothing." As the Celtics staggered and snarled toward their stunning no-show sweep in Milwaukee, Wedman pined away on the end of the bench wondering why Boston had bothered to trade for him.

It was an unusual situation for Wedman, a nine-year veteran, former All-Star, and scorer of more than 10,000 NBA points. Sitting on the end of the bench, he began to wonder about his own abilities. Were the Celtics so deep that they didn't need him, or was he not good enough to contribute to this talent-laden team? "(The doubt) was there for a while, but I did get over it," said Wedman. "I realized I was playing behind one of the best players in basketball (Larry Bird). After a while, I didn't leave much room for self-doubt."

"He didn't get a chance to play," says new Celtic coach K.C. Jones. "Any time a good player sits and only gets a minute or two, his game suffers." It appears that the Celtics are planning on getting a lot more out of Wedman this year. The 31-year-old forward has averaged 20 minutes of precious floor time in Boston's first five exhibition games. He's responded by hitting 50 percent from the floor (22 for 44) and 83 percent from the foul line (10 for 12). He had 18 points and received a warm ovation from the Garden fight fans during Sunday's slugfest against the Sixers.

"It's mainly just that I'm playing more," said Wedman. "I came to camp in good shape. I played a lot more this summer than I have in the past. I just want to play. The coaches can decide roles and minutes. I understand that my main contribution is scoring, but I think I can contribute in a lot of different ways." Jones said, "I talked with Scott briefly on the road and asked him what he thought he could do and he said he thought he could come into games and give us instant offense. When you're a shooter like he is, you should think shoot first and pass second. "I intend to use him more than we did last year. He gives us another weapon. When I see him go up for a shot, I get a good feeling. It's like you know the ball is going in."

The 6-foot-7 Wedman is a lifetime .483 shooter who has averaged 15.5 points a game since coming into the league with Kansas City in 1974. He is capable of playing in the backcourt, but helps most as a shooting forward. Since Bird is Boston's shooting forward and generally plays 40 to 45 minutes a night, Wedman is easily buried."Getting minutes is a problem and it's going to be a problem for Scott," said Jones. "But I'm sure there's a way I can work out something new." Wedman sounds ready for the challenge. "You have to prove yourself every day with this team," he says. "There's so much talent here that you know if you don't perform well every day, there's someone standing behind you ready to step in."

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