Houston Rockets Trade Value #1: Christian Wood
Christian Wood doesn’t just have the most trade value on the Rockets, his value around the league is in the upper echelon. Everything that makes a player valuable Wood has; he is young, cheap, and wildly productive.
The only players that have more value than Wood are genuine superstars and elite players on rookie contracts, and there is an argument to be made that Wood is already knocking on the door of superstardom. All of his traditional and advanced metrics show a player that is a surefire All-Star talent and possibly a bit more.
FiveThirtyEight’s wins above replacement metric grades him out as the ninth-best player on a rate basis this season for players who have played at least 400 minutes. His Win Shares per 48 minutes is currently the 28th best in the league and his box score plus/minus is 23rd.
Any way you slice the advanced metrics, it says that Christian Wood is at least a top-30 player in the league. However, if advanced metrics aren’t your thing, the good ole’ fashioned stats still paint the same picture.
In 17 games this season, Wood is averaging 22 points, 10.2 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks per game on 55.8-percent shooting from the field and 42.1-percent shooting from 3-point range. The only other players averaging over 22 points and 10 rebounds a game are Julius Randle, Nikola Vucevic, Nikola Jokic, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Joel Embiid.
That group of five, on average, are set to earn $26.1 million this season and have a total guarantee of $96.2 million. Wood, on the other hand, is set to earn $13 million this season and $41 million over the next three seasons.
The Rockets have an All-NBA caliber player under contract for the price of a rotation piece. The final piece of the puzzle in Wood’s favor is that at 25-years-old he is entering his prime.
NBA players tend to peak, in terms of regular-season production, around their age 27 season. If Wood follows a similar arc there is a real chance that he will only improve over the next two seasons.
The greatest value in Wood’s contract is that it covers his most productive seasons at a pittance of the production that you can expect. The value that the Rockets would be able to receive in return for Wood is astronomical.
James Harden netted the Rockets four first-round picks, four pick swaps, Victor Oladipo, and salary filler contracts (with apologies to Dante Exum and Rodions Kurucs). Wood wouldn’t demand a haul that large, right now, but his value should be in the realm of three first-round picks and a promising young player.
The Rockets would be crazy to trade Christian Wood but if they take the nuclear option and tear the team down to scraps for their rebuild then he could land them a hefty return. It is a rarity for a player to be so productive, so young, and so cheap, but that’s why he has one of the highest trade values in the league.