How Christian Wood can take his game to the next level

How Christian Wood can take his game to the next level
Wood relies on length, long strides, and athleticism. Composite image by Jack Brame.
How Rockets season can be salvaged by leaning into history

Christian Wood has proven his worth with the Houston Rockets. Spectators, including the Rockets know that Wood is worth more than he's getting paid. It will be interesting to see the type of extension Wood gets.

Although, Wood has given the Rockets a good season, he still has areas inside his game that need improvement. Wood's weight, low post defense, versatile big man moves, and foot work must come together. If Wood fixes these aspects of his game, he can move amongst the best big men in the NBA.

If Wood fixes his foot work, it allows him to stay in front of guards when switched towards them in pick-and-roll situations. Good footwork will improve his drop coverage and low post defense on big men. Versatility on defense is important in today's era of basketball for big men. Wood is around the 42nd percentile and allows 1.5 points per possession in post defense. His defensive rating is extremely high, which is 111.9. Hopefully, in the future his percentile goes up and makes it harder on big men defensively.

Should Wood gain more weight, so he becomes better in one-on-one situations? This includes offense and defense. Wood gaining weight would be a good idea. This could help him fight off bigger players in the post and get better positioning. Opposing players would have a tougher time backing down Wood in the paint. For example, former Rockets' big man Clint Capela weighed 222 pounds as a rookie. Capela became more dominant within five years with the Rockets because he gained 20 pounds.

Capela averaged 2.7 points per game in seven minutes as a rookie to 15.7 points per game in 30 minutes as a vet with the Atlanta Hawks. Luckily, Wood is more skilled than Capela was.

Obviously, Coach Silas allows Wood to play outside the perimeter because of his small frame. The five-out offense fits Wood well because of his versatility with the basketball. Honestly, he would dominate more if his post package was created in the off-season. Having an in-and-out game would move Wood forward amongst the big men. Wood only averages 1.5 points per possession and is still in the 42ndpercentiles for post offense. As seen below, Wood struggles to back down a 175 pound RJ Hampton in the post but still finished with a put-back dunk.

Wood relies on length, long strides, and athleticism to blow by defenders from the perimeter. Defenders struggle to guard Wood in pick-and-roll situations. He is in the 70th percentile and averages 1.21 points per possession amongst big men in pick-and-roll opportunities. Silas will disguise the pick-and-roll in various offensive sets so Wood can free himself. John Wall and Wood's connection continues to get better in the pick-and-roll aspect.

"Him [Wall] and C-Wood have a connection in the pick-and-roll," Silas said. "As long as we have a good screening angle, we can get those rolls. Especially if they're going to play C-Wood with a smaller guy, he can go up and get it. A connection between those guys is good and it continues to grow."

Another thing Wood does so well is shooting from three. Wood's 6'10 frame allows him to shoot over the defenders outstretched arms. He shoots 37.6 percent from three off five attempts per game. His true shooting percentage is 59.7 percent while his efficiency field goal percentage is 58.1 percent. Wood's shooting splits are extremely good as a first-time starter. "Definitely a learning experience for me," said Wood when it came to him starting a full season.

Wood does want to become a better playmaker and stronger as a player. He wants to reach the highest ceiling of his career. Wood can potentially become a dominant superstar with the Rockets. A player like Wood could take time. He isn't far from reaching his goal.

"I feel like my playmaking could be better and I will be working on strength and conditioning in the off-season," Wood said. "Those are the two areas that I can take my game to the next level."

Most Popular

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome

Listen Live

ESPN Houston 97.5 FM
Astros defeat the Orioles, 5-1. Composite Getty Image.

Ronel Blanco pitched seven strong innings and Chas McCormick homered twice to lead the Houston Astros to a 5-1 win over the Baltimore Orioles on Saturday.

Yordan Alvarez added a two-run shot to help Houston extend its winning streak to four games.

Blanco (8-2), who threw seven hitless innings in his last start, allowed four hits and a run with three strikeouts for his third straight win.

Alvarez put the Astros on top with his 16th homer, which came off Corbin Burnes (8-3) in the third, and McCormick made it 4-1 in the fifth. McCormick got his fifth career multihomer game when he connected again in the eighth.

Burnes allowed five hits, including a season-high two homers and a season-most four runs in seven innings to snap his career-best streak of 10 consecutive quality starts. He was 5-0 in seven starts since a loss at Washington on May 7.

Jordan Westburg homered in the second for the Orioles, who set a franchise record with 21 straight games with a home run to surpass the 1998 squad's 20-game streak.

Baltimore had troubled stringing hits together Saturday after scoring 28 runs combined in the last two games. The top four batters in their order combined to go 1 for 13 against Blanco and Houston's bullpen.

Ryan Pressly threw a scoreless eighth before Josh Hader struck out two in a perfect ninth to end it.

Westburg connected off Blanco with one out in the second to put the Orioles up 1-0.

Yainer Diaz opened Houston’s second with a triple on a line drive to right field. The Astros tied it when he scored on a sacrifice fly by Mauricio Dubón with one out.

McCormick singled with no outs in the third and the shot to center field by Alvarez came with two outs to put Houston on top 3-1.

McCormick’s home run to the seats in left field extended the lead to 4-1 with one out in the fifth.

Cedric Mullins tripled off the wall in center with one out in the seventh. Colton Cowser hit a sharp line drive, but was robbed of a hit when shortstop Jeremy Peña made a leaping catch for the second out. Blanco then retired Ramón Urías to end the inning and leave Mullins stranded.


Astros: RHP Jake Bloss, who made his major league debut Friday night, was placed on the injured list with right shoulder discomfort.


Astros: RHP Nick Hernandez was optioned to Triple-A Sugar Land on Friday night. ... LHP Bryan King was selected to the MLB roster and RHP Luis Contreras was recalled from Sugar Land on Saturday. … RHP Alex Speas was designated for assignment.


Houston LHP Framber Valdez (5-5, 3.91 ERA) opposes RHP Albert Suárez (3-1, 2.05) in the series finale Sunday.

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome