Christians Wood’s first year with the Houston Rockets was an absolute breakout year for a twenty-five-year-old California native. Last offseason, Wood signed a three-year, forty-one-million-dollar contract that now looks like the steal of the offseason.
In Woods’s first year with the Rockets, he averaged 21 PPG, 9.6 RPG, and shot 51.4% from the field and 37.4% from deep. This very impressive season lead him to be a finalist for the most improved player award. Wood did all this in the midst of the Rocket’s most turbulent season in recent memory. The season started with the James Harden trade fiasco that lead to Harden being traded to the Nets.
Even after the dust settled on the Harden front, the Rockets were dealt a bad hand for the rest of the season. While early after the Harden trade the Rockets went on an impressive winning streak, what would come after was covid protocols and constantly changing lineups. The worst of these scenarios came in February when Wood had a gruesome ankle injury against the Memphis Grizzlies that would sideline him for over a month.
The Rocket’s season quickly spiraled with John Wall ending up being shut down for the season and the Rockets finishing with the worst record in the NBA. With all the negative being said, the Rockets seemingly have a bright future to look toward going into this season with a young core lead by Wood, Kevin Porter JR, and number two overall pick Jalen Green.
With this being the case, Wood plays a huge role in determining how next season goes, so what exactly should be expected of him next season? Look for Wood to fill in a more primary role in the offense now that he has established himself as a reliable and efficient scorer. With more attention on the backcourt pairing of Porter Jr and Green along with veteran John Wall, Wood could benefit from more clean looks both on the perimeter and near the basket.
While Wood could improve offensively, he has already established himself as a high-level talent on offense. the floor. What I would look for most next season is Wood to improve on the defensive end of the floor. Last season Wood struggled at times to get over screens and at times got pushed around near the basket due to his slimmer frame. If he can improve defensively, this could help the Rockets establish an identity on defense as there is not a clear-cut defensive anchor currently on the roster.
I think Wood will see another leap given the better atmosphere and improved roster. As the offseason unfolds, it is clearer and clearer that Wood will be the biggest X-factor in the first season of the Rockets rebuild.
23 PPG, 10 RPG, 1 APG, 54 FG%, 38 3P%, 70 FT%
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