How Rockets' Christian Wood has exceeded expectations beyond basketball

Golden State Warriors v Houston Rockets
Golden State Warriors v Houston Rockets / Bob Levey/Getty Images

After playing for five different teams through his first first four seasons in the NBA, Christian Wood appeared to have found a landing spot with the Houston Rockets. Wood posted averages of 21 points, 9.6 rebounds, 1.7 assists, and 1.2 blocks in 2020-21, which were easily career bests across the board.

Wood's play instantly proved how much of a bargain the Rockets got when they inked him to a three-year deal worth $41 million, and raised the question of why someone of Wood's caliber spent four different seasons in the G-League.

How Houston Rockets big man Christian Wood has exceeded expectations beyond basketball

Houston Rockets coach Stephen Silas, who coached a 21-year-old Wood with the Charlotte Hornets, explained why the Rockets' budding star had a hard time securing an NBA home, while also explaining how Wood exceeded the Rockets' expectations on Sirius XM's NBA radio.

"He exceeded expectations a little bit. I had him in Charlotte when he was a rookie, so I knew how talented he was.

When we would be on the floor and he would be in our scrimmages, he would be killing people. But it was the maturity, it was the attention to detail, it was the listening part that he didn't really have and that's kind of why he bounced around until he got to us. 

So I knew what we had offensively and with his length and with his shooting ability, and ability to roll, ability to pop, and with his ability on the defensive end to block shots and to contain his man.

But the maturity part, that really stands out to me, because I remember when he was a baby, I remember when he was a rookie. So yeah, he was a pleasant surprise in that part of it, but the game, I always knew he had game."

Wood was one of only three players last season to average 21 points and 10 rebounds, while shooting at least 50% from the floor and over 37% from three (on a minimum of 3 long-range attempts), with the other two being Denver Nuggets star and MVP winner Nikola Jokic and Philadelphia 76ers star and MVP runner-up Joel Embiid. In addition, Wood became just the fifth player in NBA history to post this statline, with the other two being Minnesota Timberwolves star Karl Anthony-Towns and Atlanta Hawks big man John Collins.

If Wood is able to stay healthy, he could wind up on the All-Star team, as he nearly made the cut last season. But most importantly, he's matured off-the-court and discovered how to be a professional, which could do wonders for his basketball career.

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