‘Going To Be Fun’: Christian Wood Excited About Mavs Opportunity
Christian Wood was traded to the Dallas Mavericks early in the offseason after playing two seasons with the Houston Rockets.
LAS VEGAS — The first move the Dallas Mavericks made after their Western Conference Finals run featured trading for Christian Wood from the Houston Rockets. There was a clear emphasis to add more size without sacrificing shooting ability.
In exchange for Wood, the Mavericks traded the No. 26 overall pick in this year’s NBA Draft along with Boban Marjanovic, Trey Burke, Marquese Chriss and Sterling Brown. From a talent standpoint, the trade value was quite low for a player who averaged 17.9 points, 10.1 rebounds, and 2.3 assists with strong efficiency just a season ago.
The Mavericks experienced a midseason turnaround after getting off to an underachieving 16-18 start following Dec. 29 loss to the Sacramento Kings. Luka Doncic finding his All-NBA First-Team form was important, but there was a clear re-focus on defense from the team as a whole.
Wood has impressive skills for a big man. He has motion shooting talent, can attack off the catch, is a lob threat on rim rolls, and can is a scoring threat in isolation and post-ups. With an elite passer like Doncic to make plays, Wood’s skill-set will be maximized.
“If there is any other player in the pick and roll that I could ask for it would be him,” Wood said. “[Luka Doncic] is the perfect pick and roll partner to ask for, and I’m excited. It is going to be fun.”
For as talented as he is offensively, Wood’s defense is viewed as a negative and he will need to bring it on that end. He revealed the ‘first thing’ told to him by Mavericks coach Jason Kidd was about defense, so the expectations are clear.
There has already been confirmation of the Mavericks’ plans to start JaVale McGee at center after signing him for the taxpayer mid-level exception. While it’s implied that Wood will be factored into the starting five, he understands that defending will be essential for his tenure to be a successful one.
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“Defensively especially with JaVale blocking shots and my length to be able to alter shots, block shots,” Wood said. “It’s going to be exciting, As soon as I got there, the first thing (Jason Kidd) mentioned to me was defense.”
When focused, Wood has put his foot speed to good use out in space defensively. He’s shown to be capable of handing switching but has gotten pushed around even by guards when attempting to protect the paint. The goal will be for Wood to be fully focused and using his quickness while McGee anchors the paint.
The stakes are high for Wood on a personal level considering he is entering the final year of his current contract during the 2022-23 NBA season. Filling an important role on a winning team would go a long way in solidifying his value for his next contract.
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The author of 5 books, 3 of which are New York Times bestsellers. I’ve been published in more than 100 newspapers and magazines and am a frequent commentator on NPR.