Center: Christian Wood
The Rockets didn’t sign Christian Wood for three-years and $41 million to be a backup. The Rockets’ new center is the perfect player for their unique system and should feature heavily right from the start.
Stephen Silas has indicated that he wants to keep the five-out offensive system that the Rockets used in the second half of the season. Wood makes all of this possible because of his above-average 3-point shooting.
His ability to stretch the floor will allow the Rockets to keep the spacing that micro ball allowed, while not actually being a micro-sized NBA lineup. However, Wood isn’t simply a plodding floor spacer.
He possesses an uncanny off the dribble game for a player of his height. He effortlessly dribbles past defenders with a quick first-step and surprisingly fluid handles. Wood won’t just create driving lanes for others, he’ll capitalize on the space as well.
The Rockets are expected to up their pick and roll usage this season after finishing dead last in its usage. Wood will play a pivotal role as a screen setter and roll man. As mentioned before, Wood is an effective shooter from distance, which will make him dangerous in the pick and pop as well.
Christian Wood is going to be the starting center because he possesses every attribute needed for the Rockets to run their offense at the highest level. He allows for a five-out offense that also features a heavy dose of the pick and roll.
Wood is a solid deterrent at the rim and can switch screens on the perimeter. However, he is on the lean side and will struggle with defending more traditional bigs and post-ups.
However, NBA teams have never featured fewer post-ups so this isn’t as great a concern. Wood is a solid rebounder that should help the Rockets significantly on the boards.
Wood is not going to make the Rockets a defensive power but his offense more than makes up for it. The Rockets haven’t had as talented an offensive center in Wood since Yao Ming towered over the opposition.
Next: Number 4