The Pistons have claimed former Bucks and Pelicans backup big man Christian Wood off of waivers from the Pelicans, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.
The Detroit Pistons have claimed forward Christian Wood off free agency waivers, league sources tell @TheAthleticNBA @Stadium.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) July 17, 2019
According to Rod Beard of the Detroit News, it is a non-guaranteed deal:
A league source confirms that the #Pistons are adding 6-foot-10 big man Christian Wood on a non-guaranteed contract.— Rod Beard (@detnewsRodBeard) July 17, 2019
In eight games with the #Pelicans last season, he averaged 16.9 pts and 7.9 rebs.
Wood is still only 23 years old and is viewed as a “stretch” big, although he has only shot 31 percent from 3-point range in his NBA career.
Christian Wood was impressive for the Bucks during the preseason last year, but wasn’t able to carve out a spot in their rotation because of how good the Bucks roster was. However, he played 28 games for their G-League team and put up some ridiculous numbers. He averaged 29.3 points per game, 14.1 rebounds, 2.4 assists, and 2.2 blocks on 56 percent shooting. He only shot 27 percent from three and 76 percent from the free throw line.
Wood was eventually waived by Milwaukee and claimed by the New Orleans Pelicans at the end of last season. He played eight games for them, and averaged 16.9 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks in those games.
These are the kinds of moves you make as a team that is trying to win now, but is also cash-strapped. The Pistons had a roster spot remaining and a need at backup center. According to ESPN’s Bobby Marks, this waiver-wire pickup keeps the Pistons under the luxury tax:
On the Christian Wood waiver claim in Detroit: The roster in Detroit is now at 17 (14 guaranteed contracts- Wood who has $822K guaranteed if on the roster by opening night- 2 players on a Two-Way).— Bobby Marks (@BobbyMarks42) July 17, 2019
The Pistons are under the luxury tax by $223K.
There is no guarantee that Wood makes the roster, but if he plays how he closed out the season with the Pelicans, he could not only get a spot with the Pistons, but find a spot in the rotation. Wood is listed as a power forward, so the Pistons either view him as a center or they are going to use Markieff Morris or...gulp...Thon Maker at center. Prior to signing Wood, those two guys were the only backups the team had for Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond.
Wood is still young with room to grow, but he has also been around the league for a little bit, so you can trust him to play if you have to play him. There is some pretty good upside to this move despite it just being a waiver pickup. If Wood elevates his game, he offers more than a Kosta Koufos or a Pau Gasol would for the Pistons.