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Is it time to start Alperen Sengun over Christian Wood?

Should Sengun get a shot to start down the stretch?

Phoenix Suns v Houston Rockets Photo by Alex Bierens de Haan/Getty Images

Christian Wood’s time in Houston is running out. As of this season, Wood has created a little progress. His footwork, switch defense, and drop coverage have improved. But Wood’s scoring has decreased from last season. Wood hasn’t become the primary option, as the Houston Rockets’ coaching staff thought he could be. The rumor became obvious that Wood’s trade value has dropped. It became hard to trade Wood during the trade-deadline and get the wanted asking price. Wood isn’t the best fit for the Rockets anymore.

Wood’s scoring and usage rating has dropped from 21.0 to 17.7 points per game and 25.5 to 23.4 percent. He hasn’t performed the best off the ball and has struggled creating his own shot. Wood’s field goal percentage was at 51.4 percent last season while it’s dropped to 49 percent this year. He also complained about his touches earlier in the season. In this season, Woods is averaging .31 points per touch this season, which isn’t good (Per Second Spectrum). When he was brought into the fold before last season, he was seen more as a third option. Wood isn’t a first or second option, and it’s shown.

He is a below average big in the pick-and-roll and pick-and-pop action, as he is in the 58.1 percentile and scores 1.14 points per possession in that category. (Per NBAStats.com) Wood hasn’t completely understood when to pop, roll, and slip. When Wood came to Houston in his first season, he played with John Wall and James Harden at the point guard position. He was near average last season at the 64.7 percentile mark and averaged 1.18 points per possession as a pick-and-roll man. Wood is playing with a different dynamic this season while depending on Kevin Porter Jr. and Jalen Green to feed him the ball. Both guards are learning to navigate and read defenses throughout traffic.

Although Wood is playing with Porter and Green, he should still be effective on court, as he should be the leader. Wood has yet to show consistency on his scoring and knowing when to make an impact in the game. Taking ill-advised shots or not being a scoring factor inside of three quarters. His biggest struggle is the fourth quarter because he is only averaging 3.1 points per game and shooting 29.4 percent from the three-point line. In addition to him struggling in the fourth quarter, Wood has troubled himself at the free-throw line the whole entire season. He is shooting a career worst at 59.2 percent at the charity strike.

Wood also isn’t the best defender at the rim. He struggles in matchups versus bigger or better centers. His defensive rating this season is 116.2 per NBA.com, and he’s only averaging 0.9 blocks per game, which puts him at the 47th spot in the NBA. Guess who is right there with him on blocks per contest? Alperen Sengun. He also averages 0.9 blocks per contest with a 115.3 defensive rating (NBA.com). Sengun just struggles with moving his feet and fouling, but he’ll potentially be better than Wood on defense because of his frame and IQ on help-side defense. He covers the angles better on defense than Wood and isn’t afraid to challenge defenders at the rim.

The Rockets become stagnant on the court while Wood is playing. Sengun is ready to start and has proven it. Ball movement is fluent with Sengun on the court because of his playmaking skills. His wizardry passing allows the opposing defenses to be unbalanced and awkward. On the season, Sengun is averaging 6.1 assists per 100 possessions while Wood is at 3.1 assists per contest on 100 possessions. Wood has shown a smaller sample size of play-making compared to Sengun.

With Sengun off the court, the Rockets are a minus 5.9. They are minus 4.2 with Sengun on the court, as that proves it’s still better than Wood’s +/-. As there is less than 25-games left, it’s time for Stephan Silas to start Wood and Sengun together or pick Sengun to start. Segun already wants more time with Green on the court, as they’ve built a good connection. Sengun to Green has 6.6 percent frequency in passing and averages 40.6 percent from the field. Sengun said:

Sengun has also proven to be good at posting up defenders and scoring around them. He is more versatile than Wood, and it shows every game. Sengun is in the 62.2 percentile in post ups and averages .96 points per possessions on 2.1 attempts. He got an opportunity to work with Hakeem Olajuwon so he can become craftier and learn better footwork around the rim.

Like I said before, Wood’s trade value is completely down. The only way he becomes tradable at the value Houston is likely seeking is if teams are desperate. Possibly the Charlotte Hornets, as they could get Wood at a decent price if Miles Bridges leaves in free agency, as his contract is an expiring rookie deal. The Hornets could be missing playoffs again after they had a hot start. Ja Morant and Bridges are close friends, so it becomes likely he’ll be on the Memphis Grizzlies next season. Wood could have a fresh start as a Hornet’s player again and be a third option amongst Terry Rozier and LaMelo Ball.

Wood isn’t a bad player but needs a new team, as his accolades don’t fit the Rockets timeline. Hopefully, he can be dealt this off-season so Sengun can grow more next season.