With the Houston Rockets snagging one of the top free agents of the offseason, we wanted to get together with our sister site over at Detroit Bad Boys to talk about Houston’s newest signing Christian Wood.
Wood played in 62 games last year with the Detroit Pistons, where he averaged 13.1 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 1 blocked shot per game on 56.7 percent shooting from the field and 38.6 percent from three, and at least on paper, looks like a perfect fit for the Rockets.
So we sat down with Sean Corp, who is the Managing Editor for Detroit Bad Boys, and asked five pertinent questions about our newest arrival in H-town.
DY - What should Rockets fans most look forward to about watching Wood play?
SC - Wood is a great combination of having a three-point shot you’re pretty sure is going to go in, and being able to take the ball from the three-point line or the top of the key and run like a gazelle into the paint for a jam. He has surprising agility and a soft touch. He’s not just a big man who hit 38 percent of his threes, he is someone who took 40 percent of his shots from within three feet and made 79 percent of them. The efficiency is just crazy, and I’m sure something Houston will embrace.
How do you see Wood complementing James Harden?
I think Wood’s game fits pretty effortlessly around anyone. Always available at the three-point line. Always willing to cut to the rim. Always there for an offensive rebound and put-back slam. If Harden can create open looks, create open lanes to the rim and is a willing passer to cutters then he will get along with Wood very nicely.
How about Russell Westbrook?
Much the same could be said about Westbrook, though I suppose the biggest difference would be more of a chance for the two of them to get out and run together. Wood flies down the court and has good hands on lob passes.
Wood is just 25. How much developing does he still have to do? What’s his ceiling?
It’s hard to say what his ceiling is. Playing on what was at the time the worst team in the league (they would have had the worst record, or close to it by the end of the season if the league didn’t shut down), he racked up insane points. He set career highs in like five of his past eight games or something. Scoring 30 points was not uncommon by the end. But racking up good scoring nights on bad teams can lead to a bit of over-inflation of a player’s actual skill level. I’m not sure he’s a 25-point-game scorer, but if he’s at his ceiling, he can still be counted on for 18 points and 10 rebounds on insane efficiency. As far as what he can still do? He can keep refining his three-point shot, because it just made him $41 million, and the biggest struggle for him is quality team defense. He’ll block some shots, but he has a long way to go as a defender.
Anything we should be concerned about with him?
The only concern people voiced when he entered free agency was a fear that now that he had finally gotten paid, he might not push as hard and regress into some poor habits. He had a poor reputation going into the draft, and many didn’t think he took the game seriously. Maybe that pops up again. But frankly, I don’t buy it. Wood struggled at the fringes of the league for years, playing on minimum contracts and shuttling between stints in the NBA and G-League. He never gave up, he kept working on his game, and now he finally has a chance to make a huge impact. I think he’ll try and take advantage of it.
Many thanks to Sean for stopping by to give us a little insight into Wood!