Christian Wood might not be a household name yet, but it’s getting harder and harder not to think he could become one. Before the end of the world, Wood was playing excellent basketball on the offensive end. Not a whole lot of NBA people knew it outside of Pistons fans, though, boy oh boy did we ever know it.
Through five March appearances, Wood was posting nearly 27 points per game on 62 percent shooting from the field (and 43.5 percent from downtown on 4.6 attempts a game) to go along with 9.4 rebounds per game. In 11 February appearances, he posted 19 points and nine rebounds per game on 52 percent shooting from the field with slightly less impressive long ball accuracy.
Can Christian keep this going into a new season? As he’s going to be more of a focal point of team’s scouting reports, will he adapt to more strict coverage and double teams? In time, we’ll certainly learn. Hopefully, we learn all that while Wood is wearing a Pistons uniform.
Some good ol’ fashion bully ball with length for days (and touch for days) is a recipe for buckets. We’ve become accustomed to Wood taking it straight to the basket on fast breaks and just busting on people’s grills, so you also just love to see it in favorable half-court situations with, say, a little more finesse:
Christian didn’t get this one to fall, but his direct drive and initiating contact on Alex Len is going to work out more times than it is not. Wood is a match-up nightmare for most plodding big men. Wood’s length will often times be a plus, but more importantly, his agility and quick second jump will give him a decided edge.
Moe Harkless is known as a pretty good defender — it’s the main reason why he’s been a rotational player for as long as he has. However, the 6-foot-9 Harkless couldn’t really do anything here after the defensive switch: Wood just makes him look a bit short and helpless. And Wood doesn’t even allow for a strip.
Throughout the past couple months, you have to be impressed by the constant improvement of Wood’s half-court offense and the growing confidence his teammates (and coaches) have in him. In situations like this, there’s nothing that even perennial Defensive Player of the Year candidate Rudy Gobert can do if Wood gets the ball in the middle like that. Run that play all day and make the defense adjust.
Most of you are familiar with Megatron, aka Calvin Johnson. Well, the great thing is that lots of times you just have to throw it up to athletes like Megatron and just let them go make a play. Seriously, let your freakish playmaker make a play — you don’t always have to scheme something smart or different. Just let athleticism and natural advantages do their thing. Wood made plays like this more than once in a blue moon. 95 percent of players smaller than Christian have little to no chance of impeding a bucket if you have Christian in space charging towards the rack.
Prior to the season, I was slobbering over Christian (before it was cool). I noted, among many things, that he showed big-time ability to make plays off the dribble in his time with the Pelicans, no matter if it was in the half court or taking it end to end. Yes, Christian has done it more than a few times this season. Having your 6-foot-10 stretch four (or five) be able to go the length of the court and make the right play with such effortlessness is not something you should take for granted. No way!
Wood is a third banana candidate for just about any NBA team right now.
But do you think he’s second banana material with a little more polish? What say you DBB?