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Play of the Game: Luka Doncic and Christian Wood make magic... against the Magic

This connection could very well determine the season the Mavericks have

Orlando Magic v Dallas Mavericks Photo by Glenn James/NBAE via Getty Images

Christian Wood has done everything possible to show the offensive skills that had fans of the Dallas Mavericks so excited when he was acquired. With Luka Doncic making his preseason debut against the Orlando Magic, fans got their first look at the potentially dynamic pick and roll pairing between the two.

The promise of Wood offensively is in the diversity of his skills. Maxi Kleber can pick and pop, but he rarely rolls despite his size and athleticism. He also can’t short roll because he is uncomfortable dribbling. Dwight Powell is an elite finisher and the closest thing to a short roller that the Mavericks have had as he is comfortable making simple reads when Doncic gets him the ball early. Unfortunately, despite his continued attempts he cannot shoot. Javale McGee is a new addition but he provides similar elite rim running to Powell but also does not have the ability to pop.

Even Kristaps Porzingis could both pop and roll but there were always concerns his body would not hold up to continued rolling. Plus, due to his size, he was unable to put the ball on the floor without danger of the ball being stolen. Christian Wood has none of these concerns. He can shoot better than any big man the Mavericks have employed since Dirk Nowitzki. He can use his incredible wingspan and athleticism to finish at the rim. And he is perfectly comfortable putting the ball on the floor.

This pick and roll between Doncic and Wood is the first of many and it may appear to be simplistic at first but it reveals a lot about the potential of the pairing. Wood sets a token screen but leaves without making real contact. Because of the threat of his shooting and the terror Doncic inspires coming off of a screen, Wood’s defender has a foot above the three point line.

Wood reads this advantage and attacks the rim with his fluid athleticism. He uses his length and good hands to make a nice catch on a pass that while in the correct place, is not an easy catch. He then takes one dribble, gathers himself and finishes through contact.

This play may seem innocuous, and Wood is certainly not the only Maverick who will finish a layup off of a pass from Doncic. But it does highlight the potential of this pairing as a means to get the best out of Wood’s myriad of talents. If the Mavericks are able to do that, this could be a very promising season.