Christian Wood’s breakout season with the Houston Rockets did not result in him receiving an All-Star nod or a Most Improved Player award, but there is a way the 6’10” big man from California could find his way among the elite players in the NBA.
According to Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle, Wood is one of several players who is being considered as a replacement for Bradley Beal for Team USA’s Olympic run in Tokyo. Beal, who averaged a career-best 31.1 points per game during the 2020-21 season, will miss the Olympics due to COVID-19 protocols.
According to Feigen, Team USA is seeking to add an additional big to their frontcourt — which already features the likes of Bam Adebayo, Draymond Green and Kevin love. Wood received an invitation as a finalist for the U.S.A Men’s Olympic Team during the season, an experience he was “appreciative” for in late January.
“It means a lot. I have an opportunity to try and win a gold medal for my country. Coming from where I come from, this is huge. This is like an All-Star game for me. I am going to go in there and try to give it my all. This would mean the world to me.” — Wood
Prior to his season coming to an early end due to injuries, Wood was in the midst of a career year with the Rockets. In 41 games played during the 2021 campaign, Wood averaged a team-best 21.0 points, while shooting 51.4 percent from the field and 37.4 percent from behind the arc. In addition to his scoring, Wood also notched 9.6 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game.
During their exhibition schedule, Team USA has gotten off to a shocking 1-2 record, following disappointing losses to Nigeria and Australia. Team USA’s first Olympic game will begin on July 25 against France.