Knicks Free Agent Player Profile: Christian Wood

 

Christian Wood, the young NBA journeyman, has played on six teams in his first six seasons. The New Orleans Pelicans cut Wood in the summer of 2019. Prior to his release, in the eight-game stretch to end the season, Wood got his first real opportunity to contribute in the NBA. After the departure of Nikola Mirotic and the drama regarding Anthony Davis, he earned a role in the rotation. He showed flashes of promise, netting a career-high scoring night and posting 17 points per game in only 23 minutes a game.

Pistons Scoop Christian Wood

Cutting Wood after such a strong finish to the season was a strange decision by the Pelicans. However his progress and emerging potential made it easy for him to land a job elsewhere. The Detroit Pistons picked up Wood on July 17, only two days after the Pelicans cut him. Three teams have already dropped Wood in his young career, but the former UNLV forward has never given up on proving himself worthy. There was no guarantee that Wood would make the 15 man roster, but he managed to beat out NBA veteran Joe Johnson for the last spot on the roster. 

Wood Shines in DET

Next, there was uncertainty on whether Wood would see any significant playing time. However, with both Blake Griffin struggling to stay healthy all season and the departure of Andre Drummond, Wood became an important part of the Pistons team. In the 13 games after the February 6th departure of Drummond, Wood shined brightly. The Pistons inserted him in their starting lineup and he averaged 23 points per game at over a 55% clip from the field. 

Wood displayed his silky smooth shooting and strong ability to shoot the three-ball efficiently. He even ranked in the 85th percentile of the entire league in “spot-ups.” Wood’s best quality is his ability to make his presence felt. When he is on the floor, he is extremely active and never fails to get involved in the play. Nothing demonstrates his big presence better than his impeccable ability to roll to the rim. He ranks in the 95th percentile in the league in that category. He puts a lot of pressure on opposing defenses, causing them to collapse in the paint. He also spreads the floor with his shooting, making him a dual-threat that gives opposing defenses a hard time. 

Area to Improve for Christian Wood

Wood somehow always involves himself in the play. His presence as an offensive rebounder produces a significant amount of second opportunities for his team. Wood’s offensive game is shaping up to be polished and versatile. Despite flashes of his defensive abilities, he needs to take a step up with his defensive game. His toughness and length are promising characteristics for a strong defensive player. However, he needs to work on his agility and footwork in order to take his defensive game to the next level. After proving himself last season on a partially guaranteed contract, Wood is going to get seriously paid this offseason. Despite having a plethora of big men, the New York Knicks could benefit enormously with the addition of Christian Wood. 

A Great Fit For NY

Wood would probably slot in as Julius Randle’s backup, and likely occupy the sixth man role. His ability to create shots for himself is something he shares in common with Randle. Wood could certainly learn a lot from Randle in this regard. Taj Gibson could even serve as a viable mentor to Wood. As an NBA veteran with a lot of experience, Gibson can help Wood mature his defensive abilities. Not to mention, Wood could also slot in nicely alongside starting center Mitchell Robinson. Wood and Mitch would be an intriguing duo on the court; their size and presence in the paint would pose as a big matchup problem for opposing teams. 

The addition of Wood would make sense given the Knicks’ current direction and the culture the organization fosters. With a roster of only six players over the age of 25, Wood would feel comfortable in the young culture in New York. He would also fit in nicely with the veterans on the team as well. The Knicks are in complete rebuild mode and are focusing on developing their young talent. They will certainly give their young players plenty of minutes this upcoming season and Wood would be one of the organization’s biggest focal points. The attention he would receive by the Knicks staff would allow him to really focus on improving.

At only 25 years old, Wood is only beginning to blossom. His physical toughness, offensive versatility, and athleticism make him one of the more underrated and exciting young power forwards in the association.

 

 

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