During Mavs media day, head coach Jason Kidd confirmed Christian Wood would be coming off the bench. Though there’s been plenty of back and forth about whether or not Wood knew about this prior to Monday (hint: he knew), it’s what is going to happen to start the season. So how could this move benefit the Dallas Mavericks for the 2022-2023 season? How could it benefit Wood?
Christian Wood has a lot to prove
There’s no way around this: Wood playing for a significant contract in the offseason. He’s 27 years old, has never stuck with one team, and doesn’t have much to point to in his career to date. This could be his last chance at an eight figure contract, as he’s in the final year of a 3 year, $41 million deal.
Wood knows he needs to make his playing time count.
He’s has been a player with a chip on his shoulder his entire NBA career. Wood certainly seemed like he had a fire in his belly when he dunked on Kristaps Porziņģis last season.
Credit Youtube channel NBA On Fire for this clip.
Whether or not he stays in the sixth man position isn’t the point right now. If starting is that important to him, his play will make the case on his behalf
The versatility Wood brings off the bench makes the Mavericks very hard to defend
Wood has a lot to offer the Mavericks in his bag of tricks.
At the height of his effectiveness, Christian Wood had an eFG% of 75.7 in 2019-2020 in pick and roll situations. This was down a tad last season to 64.2%, but it’s still . At his size, Wood should be a terror for opponents in pick-and-roll situations, particularly where there’s no help defender from the corner. An undercovered aspect of Wood’s game is he’s got a very good first step for his size. Available on PandaHank41’s Youtube channel, here’s Christian Wood using a pump fake and finishing at the rim.
Another bench big man eases the rotational burden
Knowing Maxi Kleber doesn’t have to play all 82 games this season until his wheels fall off is highly refreshing. Kleber racked up over 457 playoff minutes this past postseason. Ideally, if the Mavericks can keep Kleber’s minutes average to 22-24 minutes this season, that would be a huge win.
Enter Christian Wood.
Wood might not have the basketball hips like Maxi, but with a 7’3” wingspan, Wood could at very least contest shots in Jason Kidd’s scheme. Here’s another clip from PandaHank41 Youtube channel, where Christian Wood uses his length against Karl-Anthony Towns.
During the 2020 NBA off-season, I was ready for the Mavericks to give Christian Wood a huge payday; two years later, the Mavericks now have the opportunity to have an up close look and see if he’s a player they might want beyond this extended test drive. So knock on; Wood, let’s hope Christian embraces the sixth-man role this season. It could lead to big things, both for him and for the Dallas Mavericks.