#3. Houston Rockets center Christian Wood
This Houston Rockets team is filled with many new faces compared to last year. One name however stands out as the key acquisition that GM Rafael Stone landed in the offseason, Christian Wood. After entering the offseason as one of the premier targets in the 2020 free agent class, Wood signed a three-year deal with the Rockets to become their much-needed center after their micro ball experiment fell short of their expectations of a championship in the playoffs.
With the Rockets’ early exit in the 2020 playoffs against the Los Angeles Lakers that featured a center-less starting lineup, the franchise looked to shake things up. To kick off the offseason, they dealt Robert Covington, their small-ball center in 2020, to the Portland Trail Blazers, which allowed them to sign Christian Wood and bring his distinct skillset into the fold.
After 12 games with the Houston Rockets, Christian Wood has continued to impress NBA spectators around the league while earning praise from peers such as LeBron James and surprising Hall-of-Fame legends such as Shaquille O’Neal. The 6’10” center has been incredible thus far with averages of 23.5 points, 10.8 rebounds, 1.8 blocks per game on 52.8-percent field goal percentage.
Christian Wood turned 25-years-old prior to the start of the season and although the team signed him to a huge contract relative to what he was making in the past, it is still quite a bargain considering his potential. With this season being Wood’s first full year as a starter, he is expected to continue to grow with the team’s dependence on his offensive skillset.
It is very conceivable for Wood to earn an All-Star spot this year considering three big men made it on the Western Conference list of stars last year: Anthony Davis, Nikola Jokic, and Rudy Gobert. He is ranked 22nd in scoring, 10th in rebounds and 6th in blocks.
Given Wood’s age and the room for growth for the big man, the Houston Rockets will get to enjoy his services for the next couple of years regardless of the direction the team heads in.
Next: Player No. 2