EVERY-THING SPORTS

Here's why Christian Wood needs to stay put with Rockets...for now

When is the appropriate time to trade Wood? Composite image by Jack Brame.

The Rockets are in the midst of a heater. As of this writing, they've won eight of their last ten games which included an improbable seven game win streak. One of the more impressive things about this run has been the fact that two of their most prized future pieces, Jalen Green and Kevin Porter Jr, have missed some time. Green played in the first game of the streak and KPJ played in the first five. Since then, they've gone with a shell crew that has come together better than a last-minute dinner party menu.

Credit where it's due: coach Stephen Silas has done an awesome job at getting this team ready, playing hard, and adjusting. They're winning games by playing team ball. Whether it's making the extra pass, communicating on defense, or going all out, this team has showed a fire they previously hadn't shown much. Christian Wood was considered a building block when the rebuild was underway. After the James Harden trade, he was seen as one of the centerpieces of this organization moving forward. People wondered why'd this team give him the contract they gave him. Now, they're starting to see.

While his point production is down almost five points a game, his rebounding numbers are up nearly two a game. Factor in the rookies brought in, especially Green as the number two overall pick, and one can see why his scoring may have dropped some. There was some talk that centered around Wood getting traded before the deadline this season. Now we can't say for certain the Rockets actually are entertaining this idea, but I wouldn't be surprised if it has come up. Wood is the type of player teams covet in today's NBA. He's a big that can stretch the floor with his outside shooting, rebound well, and is a decent shot blocker. At 26 with this year and next left on his contract at a reasonable rate, he's going to be a player playoff teams may come after at trade deadline.

No matter what the offer is this season, the Rockets need to stand pat and keep Wood. The recent hot streak they've been on shows what the potential of this team can be if they put it all together. Why not ride this thing out the rest of the season and see what could be heading into the offseason? What if KPJ and Green get back and realize they need to fall in line with what's been taking place? Wouldn't most fans want to see what this team can do fully healthy? Besides, if they really want to trade Wood to see what kind of haul they can get in return (and to get Alperen Sengun more minutes), wouldn't it be beneficial to wait until the offseason, or at least next trade deadline? This approach would allow the team to assess the roster as currently constructed, see what needs improving, see who's available to draft and/or sign, then make the appropriate moves from there.

The Rockets are 28 games into their season right now, which is still a decent chunk away from the midpoint. Ejecting on Wood this soon would be senseless. See what he can do next to Green and KPJ. See what this young core can do with the vets around them. Veteran players can help these youngsters learn what it means to be a pro. Trades like this don't need to take place until the organization has a clear-cut direction. With Wood still under contract past this season, I see no reason to trade him. Unless...there's a Godfather-type offer on the table they can't refuse. Then, and only then, would trading a valuable asset like Wood be acceptable.

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ROCKETS FALL TO WARRIORS

Critical takeaways from Rockets' 105-103 loss to Warriors

Rockets fall short against Warriors. Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

This wasn't the typical Houston Rockets-Golden St. Warriors game when Mike D' Antoni and Steve Kerr were having an offensive battle of wits. James Harden, who plays for the Brooklyn Nets, was nowhere in sight for the Rockets Friday night. Although the Rockets are in rebuild mode, it was still an interesting game. The intensity was high throughout the entire game. Emotions between Stephen Silas and Kerr were heavy, as they were yelling and jumping up-and-down along the sidelines.

A series of runs and back-and-forth scoring gave a slight reminder of the old rivalry between the Warriors and Rockets. Steph Curry was having a tough game, but with 5.1 seconds left, he was able to create great separation from a step back and drained an incredible midrange shot over Kevin Porter Jr. It was heartbreaking because Porter played great defense on Curry throughout the entire game, with Curry only making 6 out of 22 shots. Porter had a tremendous first-half defensively on Curry and recorded an 88.9 defensive rating. Porter had a good feel for guarding Curry, he didn't allow himself to switch away from him. He anticipated passing lanes and ripped Curry a couple of times.

Besides Porter playing great defense, the Rockets played good as a whole. They finished with 10 steals. Their main technique was to switch everything on defense, and Kenyon Martin Jr. and Christian Wood did a good job. It's never easy staying in front of Curry and Jordan Poole, but if they could hold their ground for five seconds, it became possible. Porter did a great job at times by communicating on defense, so he could tell Jalen Green and Eric Gordon when to switch.

And speaking of Green--- he had a strange night offensively. He went 0-11 from the field but made two great plays in the fourth quarter. Instead of Silas keeping Green on the bench because of his cold hand, he kept him in the game for learning purposes. Green made an outstanding play on Curry at the 2:52 mark in the 4th quarter. Before that, he missed a shot from three but fought hard for the rebound, then found a cutting Wood towards the rim. Green might of struggled, but the effort was there.

This was a tough loss for the Rockets, but they are steadily improving. The Rockets are 3-5 in their last five games.

Up next: The Rockets face the Spurs on Tuesday night.

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