Houston Rockets: Which NBA Draft prospect is the best fit at no. 2 with Christian Wood
Christian Wood’s first season in Houston was as good as anyone could have hoped for. He averaged 21 points and 9.6 rebounds a game on 51.4-percent shooting from the field and 37.4-percent from 3-point range. His combination of inside-out scoring from the center position puts him in a rare class.
While Wood’s maiden season in Houston was excellent, there’s ample room for debate over his long-term upside. He could continue to grow his game and become a superstar, he could remain at the All-Star level he’s shown, or he could regress into an average player.
Depending on what the Rockets’ front office believes is the most likely outcome for Wood the prospect that fits their roster changes dramatically. These are the prospects that fit best depending on each of those outcomes for Christian Wood.
Houston Rockets: Which NBA Draft prospect is the best fit at no. 2 if Christian Wood is a superstar: Jalen Suggs
If Wood continues to blossom and becomes a superstar the Rockets will need to surround him with tough perimeter defenders, smart passers, and guards who are lethal in the pick and roll. Jalen Suggs would be the perfect complimentary piece to get the most out of a superstar version of Christian Wood.
Suggs is a tough defender who would help protect Wood from being stretched too thin on defense. While Wood flashed potential as a weak side defender, his offensive game is what separates him at the center position.
Suggs is an incredible north-south athlete that would provide Wood with a perfect pick and roll partner. The threat of Suggs exploding to the rim would give Wood ample pick and pop opportunities and that same threat from Wood will give Suggs enough runway to consistently attack the rim.
While Evan Mobley and Jalen Green possess the most upside, Suggs is the perfect high-end number two. He’s a well-rounded player that is a perfect secondary option on offense with the potential to be a bit more if his jump shot improves.
Houston Rockets: Which NBA Draft prospect is the best fit at no. 2 if Christian Wood is an All-Star: Jalen Green
Now, if what Rockets fans saw from Christian Wood in year one is what he is going to be going forward then the best fit for the Rockets is Jalen Green. An All-Star version of Wood is nothing to sneeze at but if the Rockets want to be real championship contenders they’ll need a go-to scoring option from the backcourt.
Green might have the highest potential of any player in this draft and his ability to be a lethal isolation scorer is not in doubt. The rest of his game will take time to refine, but from day one, Green should be a 20 points per game threat.
Although Green’s passing lags behind Suggs, his jump shot and scoring ability should still create space for Wood to thrive. And the spacing that Wood can create for others based on his 3-point shooting will allow Green ample space to attack the basket off the dribble and on cuts.
If Wood is just an All-Star, the Rockets will need a superstar in the backcourt if they want to compete for titles. Jalen Green has superstar upside, while Suggs has super-sidekick potential.
Houston Rockets: Which NBA Draft prospect is the best fit at no. 2 if Christian Wood is an average player: Evan Mobley
If Christian Wood’s first season in Houston was a mirage and he is more of an average player then the Rockets shouldn’t hesitate to make Evan Mobley their center of the future. Mobley is the number two rated prospect for a reason and his defensive upside far outpaces Wood’s.
Mobley’s upside is tremendous and he could become one of the top centers in the league. While he’ll never be Nikola Jokic on offense or Rudy Gobert on defense, he has the ability to be plus on both ends of the court.
Two-way centers are crucial because it limits the effectiveness of small ball and bully ball for your opponents. Also, it isn’t out of the realm of possibility that Mobley and Wood could co-exist on the court together.
However, there is an added benefit in drafting Mobley as it would allow the Rockets to trade Wood and recoup some assets. Remember, the Rockets are only selecting Mobley if they believe Wood is an average player, so trading him wouldn’t be a non-starter for the front office.
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