The Rockets' case for keeping Christian Wood
The case for keeping Christian Wood is relatively simple. He’s good, relatively young, and still under contract for one more season. One of the crucial mistakes rebuilding teams make is they jettison all of their quality veterans. Giving young players reps is important but so is them succeeding on the court.
Wood probably isn’t an All-Star but he makes the offense better in two essential ways that will help the growth and confidence of the Rockets’ young backcourt. His danger as a screen setter whether he pops for a three or rolls to the rim creates driving lanes and easy reads.
Wood isn’t much of a passer, but his gravity as a shooter and rim runner creates shots for his teammates. Through the pick-and-roll, he can be a playmaker without ever touching the ball.
The Rockets don’t want to be one of the worst teams in the NBA forever. Talking about prospects and the draft is fun, but so is watching basketball games in June that don’t just have former Rockets.
For all of Christian Wood’s flaws, he is still a good NBA player, and at 26-years-old he still has plenty of productive basketball ahead of him. The hardest thing to do in the NBA is to accrue talent, and the Rockets had a very talented player fall into their laps.
If Wood improves any aspect of his game he’ll inch ever closer to that All-Star distinction. If he becomes a 40% 3-point shooter does it matter if his defense is just okay? If he becomes a better rebounder how many extra possessions does that give the Rockets?
Wood is a borderline elite offensive center. He’s average at best at defense and rebounding. So what? No player is flawless. The question for the Rockets is; does Christian Wood make us better today and tomorrow? The answer is unequivocally yes and yes.