3 things that need to happen for the Houston Rockets to make the play-in game

By Lachard Binkley
Houston Rockets v Miami Heat
Houston Rockets v Miami Heat / Michael Reaves/Getty Images
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Christian Wood, Terance Mann, Houston Rockets
Los Angeles Clippers v Houston Rockets / Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

Houston Rockets play-in need #2: Christian Wood stays healthy

Christian Wood, when healthy, was the best player for the Rockets last year. He looked like a potential All-Star and the Rockets had a winning record early in the year when, you guessed it, Wood was healthy.

Up until 2019-20, Wood had played for five teams in four years. Wood was the classic case of the right player at the wrong time. In almost all of his stops, Wood showed that he had the talent to play in the NBA, but injuries and the numbers game had him bouncing from team to team. He finally got his chance with the Detroit Pistons once they traded away Andre Drummond.

Fast forward to last year, and Wood was in contention for a spot in the All-Star game. Even after James Harden was traded, Wood played at an elite level on the offensive and defensive ends, which surprised some people. But the injury bug would rear its ugly head in a February game against the Memphis Grizzlies, where Wood suffered a severe ankle sprain that kept him out for several weeks.

Wood would eventually return but at times struggled to get back to his early-season form. As a result, Wood only played 41 games. Bouncing in and out of the lineup, Wood averaged 21 points and 9.6 rebounds a game while shooting 37.4-percent from beyond the arc. Wood's talent is not up for debate and he has a chance to be a top-level power forward. The question is can he stay healthy? If he can, the Rockets have a real chance to compete for the tenth spot.