Basketball

Miami Heat ‘Persistent’ in Pursuing Houston Star Christian Wood

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If there is one thing you see every NBA season, it’s mind-boggling trade rumors. The Miami Heat and Houston big man Christian Wood have been a more recent rumor floating around the league. After Miami missed on signing him in 2020, the team has been one of the more persistent organizations following Wood.

Wood first started turning heads in his time with the Detroit Pistons, starting in 12 games out of 62 played. He signed a three year, $41M deal with the Houston Rockets in 2020 and has proven to be well worth every penny, averaging 19.2 PPG and 10 RPG on 49.8% shooting and 36.9% from 3-point range since joining the team.

The Pros

Christian Wood is a rising star capable of doing big things for any organization he’s a part of. He can bang down low as well as extend his range and hit the deep ball. There is no limit to Wood’s potential, and he can be a prolific asset for years to come.

Shooting Ability

One of the biggest parts of Wood’s game that stands out is his ability to extend his range and hit shots. Wood currently ranks fifth among centers in 3P% (36.5%) and third in average 3-point field goals made (1.8) this season. On top of this, Wood ranks second only to Karl-Anthony Towns (86) in total 3-pointers made for centers (77).

Another impressive component of Christian Wood’s game is his ability to finish around the rim. Wood is currently shooting 61.6% in the paint (180/292) according his shot chart.

Versatility

To go along with his shooting ability, Christian Wood can play both power forward and center roles. At 6’10, 214 lbs, Wood likely won’t be the biggest guy you see on the court on any given night, however, he is one of the quicker bigs in the game.

Wood is a multi-threat athlete when it comes to screen plays. He’s athletic enough to play the roll man and get straight to the hoop on a pick and roll, or quick enough to pop outside and hit the long ball.

Potential

‘Potential’ is a hard intangible to gauge; some guys have it, some don’t. Christian Wood definitely has it. He has seen improvement on several major stat category since joining the Rockets in 2020, including jumping from 13.1 PPG to 21 PPG in his first year in Houston.

Wood also has proven to be a threat on the glass, averaging 10.3 RPG in the 2021-22 season, but the real room for improvement comes in the defensive category. Wood boasts a 7’3 wingspan and has the athleticism to be a top defensive player. At 26 years old, there’s still time to get there.

The Cons

Along with pros come cons. What might go wrong with a Christian Wood trade is just as important as what might go right. Whether it be things that Wood can’t fix, or things he has room for improvement, there are cons to the Heat trading for him.

Defense

Although Wood has the physical attributes to be an outstanding defender, he just isn’t right now. Wood has a defensive rating of 111.3 this season, which isn’t bad, but it’s not great. Wood should be up there with the likes of Joel Embiid (104.8 DRTG) in terms of defensive production.

This could mean less defensive prowess for the Heat upon trading, but possible long-term gift in years to come if Wood can grow in the future.

Overall Size

Christian Wood is small. He’s an undersized center and would be playing alongside another undersized center in Bam Adebayo.

This might not be a horrible concern, as the Heat are already starting Adebayo at center (6’9) and P.J. Tucker at power forward (6’5). But even then, Wood weighs 214 lbs compared to Tucker’s 245 and Adebayo’s 255. This is, as one can tell, a huge gap in size.

The Price to Pay

What would it cost the Heat to get a rising star like Christian Wood? The Heat don’t have many distributable assets. They don’t have draft picks galore and unhappy stars trying to get out of Miami. What would be the price to pay?

Miami Heat Receive: Christian Wood and D.J. Augustin

Houston Rockets Receive: Duncan Robinson, Omer Yurtseven, KZ Okpala, Markieff Morris, and a 2025 First-Round Pick

There’s not much room to change an offer for Wood. Duncan Robinson would be a must-have for Houston and by including young guys like KZ Okpala and Omer Yurtseven, they get to continue rebuilding with young, promising players, along with a future first-round pick.

With this scenario, the Heat would retain core players such as Tyler Herro, Max Strus, and Gabe Vincent while gaining another prominent big man.

This would make the Heat’s starting lineup look something like this:

PG: Kyle Lowry
SG: Tyler Herro
SF: Jimmy Butler
PF: Christian Wood
C: Bam Adebayo

This would keep Strus, Vincent, Tucker, and Dedmon in the rotation while also adding NBA veteran D.J. Augustin.


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