Detroit Pistons big man Christian Wood had 28 points and 10 rebounds with a block and a steal during a victory over the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday.
Wood, 24, made his NBA debut back in the 2014-15 season and has bounced around the league since then. During the offseason, the 6-foot-10 big man signed a one-year, minimum deal with the Pistons. While it is still early in the year, he has already played more games for Detroit than he has for any of his previous four teams.
Back in August 2018, Wood told HoopsHype that he could be an “X-factor” in the NBA. That is exactly what he’s been during with the Pistons thus far.
Wood is averaging 1.24 points per possession, which ranks in the 98th percentile of the league. Among all players who have finished at least 100 offensive possessions, only two have been more efficient than him.
Despite his 6-foot-10 frame, more than one-third of his field goal attempts have been on jump shots. He is currently shooting 13-for-26 (50.0 percent) on jumpers in a set offense, where he has been more efficient than all but two players with as many opportunities.
Considering how lethal his frontcourt partner Blake Griffin can be when attacking the basket, opponents often leave Wood wide open from three.
Against the San Antonio Spurs, big man Jakob Poeltl stayed near Griffin — who was already guarded by Rudy Gay. As such, Wood was left unguarded on the perimeter and nailed an easy three.
Detroit has been the most effective team in the league on spot-up possessions and Wood has contributed to that. The Pistons average the most points per possession in the NBA when spotting up, and they trail only the Milwaukee Bucks for most points per game on this play type among all teams in the Eastern Conference.
But given his size, Wood has also been dominant as a presence near the basket. Wood ranks in the 96th percentile among all big men on his attempts at the rim, per Cleaning the Glass.
Among the 77 players in the East who have had as many attempts in the restricted area, no one has been more accurate (79.6 percent) than Wood.
Derrick Rose’s comfort running pick-and-roll has played a large part in this success and the two have established a nice two-man game for Detroit.
The fluidity that the two have in the PnR was on display against the Spurs. Wood set a high pick and the defender committed to Rose, who drove to the lane and then found his big near the basket for a dunk.
During the 118 minutes that Wood has been on the court with Rose, Wood has averaged 20.7 points per 36 minutes and Detroit has outscored its opponents by 22.5 points per 100 possessions. That net rating currently ranks No. 5 overall among two-man lineups in the East who have had as many minutes shared.
Wood may not enter the starting rotation for the team, but he is valued within the organization. Head coach Dwane Casey recently said that “he went to the wall” to make sure the 24-year-old was on the roster this year. With that kind of trust and confidence, expect to see more of Wood moving forward.