Christian Wood’s game
Christian Wood is the modern NBA’s prototypical center. He is capable of stretching the floor with a lethal 3-point shot, while also possessing the ability to finish at the rim in the pick and roll.
Wood finished last season shooting 38.6-percent from 3-point range, a mark that was 2.8-percent better than the league average, while also hitting 63.6-percent of his 2-pointers.
That combination of efficiency from distance and at the rim is extremely valuable as NBA offenses prioritize both of those shots. What makes Wood’s game, even more, enticing is how he fared when Detroit finally inserted him into the starting lineup.
Over his first 47 games of the season, Wood started one game and averaged 5.3 rebounds and 10.1 points on 36.7-percent 3-point shooting in 17.3 minutes of action a game. Posting numbers like these will keep you in a team’s rotation but it’s what he did over the final 15 games that earned him $41 million from Houston.
Due to trades and injury Wood found himself starting 11 of Detroit’s final 15 games where he averaged 34.1 minutes a game. The new-found game time allowed Wood’s game to go to the next level.
Over that stretch, he averaged 22.3 points, 9.5 rebounds, and 1 block a game, while also seeing his 3-point shooting improve to 41-percent on 4.1 attempts a game. If Wood had been a starter over the duration of the season there is a real possibility that he would have ended up with a max contract.
While Wood’s offensive repertoire is his calling card he will provide a boost for the Rockets on the boards and defensively in the paint. Last season Wood posted a 16.7-percent total rebounding percentage, which would have ranked fourth on the Rockets behind Clint Capela, Ryan Anderson, Isaiah Hartenstein, and Bruno Caboclo, all of whom are no longer with the Rockets.
Wood is not an elite rebounder but he is far better than both Robert Covington and PJ Tucker who ended up being the Rockets playoff frontcourt. On defense, Wood is a solid rim protector and perimeter defender but does not have the versatility that Covington possessed.
Wood limited opponents to a 54.6-percent field-goal percentage at the rim last season. While not an elite number, it offers a serious improvement over the Rockets’ team mark of 64.4-percent. If Wood can help inch the Rockets’ rim protection closer to the league-average they’ll have a real chance to have a top-10 defense with all the turnovers they force.
Next: How will Wood fit in Houston?