Houston Rockets reason #1 to not trade Christian Wood: He is versatile
There might be other versatile big men in the league, but not many are 25, average 20 points and 10 rebounds per game, and are on a great contract. In today’s NBA, you have to have versatile position-less players who can fit with different types of players.
In Wood, the Rockets have a big man who can step outside and shoot 40-percent from the 3-point line, can score around the basket, and can run the fast break. This is important because you don’t want to limit your options when bringing in free agents or potentially draft picks.
As we saw this past season, Wood thrived next to centers like DeMarcus Cousins and Kelly Olynyk, who have completely different styles of play. Wood was able to go from shooter to paint scorer depending on who he was playing with and what the team needed.
With a young team, you need players who have seen all types of defenses and can be that steady influence all playoff teams need. Young players are more likely to follow an “older” player who can also back it up on the court, and Wood fits that criteria perfectly.
He is not at the point where he is a veteran player who is 10th or 11th on the depth chart and you’re just keeping them around because they have seen different situations at the pro level. Wood is the modern embodiment of the stretch center and moving him now could be regrettable when the next great team is held back because they’re missing exactly what Christian Wood provides.
As mention earlier, the Rockets don’t have any untouchable players, if a great deal comes along, of course, you listen to it, but the notion of “coming up with a trade” to move on from Wood doesn’t make much sense. Wood is a versatile big man who has yet to hit his stride but is already a borderline All-Star.
More importantly, he wants to play in Houston, and these days that is not a forgone conclusion. Wood may not be a top-10 player, but he is the type of player a young up-and-coming team needs to take that next step, and at the end of the day that’s what the Rockets want to be.