How Christian Wood Became a Breakout Star for the Detroit Pistons


Christian Wood has been one of the breakout stars for the NBA this year. He has only started coming along in the month or two before the stoppage of play and he has been spectacular for Detroit. On a roster that doesn't have a lot of young talent and potential, the Pistons have found a diamond in the rough in Christian Wood.


Christian Wood grew up in Long Beach California and attended Los Alamitos High School for his freshman year. He moved after his freshman year and attended Knight High School for one year. He then transferred again to Findlay Prep for his senior year. Wood led Findlay Prep to a 35-1 record and was ranked as the #36 overall player in the class and committed to UNLV.


Wood had an up and down freshman year at UNLV. He started in 2 games, averaging 13.0 minutes per game. In those 13.0 minutes, he averaged 4.5 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 1 block. These stats were on 55.2% from 2 and 22% from 3. He played on a UNLV team that has two other future NBA players on it in Khem Birch and Bryce Dejean-Jones. Wood spent most of the year backing up Khem Birch, who averaged 11.5 points and 10.2 rebounds.


Birch left for the NBA after that year, leaving Christian Wood the starting position. In that role, he averaged 32.7 minutes per game. In those 32.7 minutes, he averaged 15.7 points, 10.0 rebounds, and 2.7 blocks. Wood shot 56.3% from 2 and 28.4% from 3. After this breakout season, Wood decided to go to the NBA Draft.


It was almost certain Christian Wood would get drafted at some point. His stock plummeted during the pre-draft process due to his 15% body fat and questions about his ability to go all-in for his organization. Wood still had value as a 6'11" big with a 7'3" wingspan and a good looking jump shot. Teams could not overlook Wood's terrible pre-draft process and he went undrafted.


Christian Wood went on to get cut 4 times from 2015-19 and played a lot in the G-League. He was cut by the 76ers to make room for Elton Brand, by the Bucks to make room for Pau Gasol, by the Hornets, and the Pelicans to make room after the Anthony Davis trade. It was on the Pelicans where Wood started to show his potential where he averaged 16.9 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks all while playing only 23.6 minutes in 8 games.

Christian Wood was signed by the Pistons in free agency this year and beat out veteran Joe Johnson for the final roster spot. In November, he was a bench player averaging 14.0 minutes per game. In these 14.0 minutes, he averaged 7.3 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 0.5 assists. He started to play a bit more in December and January. He averaged 18.3 minutes per game in December and 19.8 minutes per game in January. In December, he averaged 11.2 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 0.9 assists, It was more of the same in January as he averaged 11.6 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 0.9 assists.


This all changed when Christian Wood had his first game of the season where he played over 30 minutes against the Grizzlies. Wood played in 34 minutes and had 17 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 threes, 2 steals, and 2 blocks off the bench. In the next game against the Suns, he had 21 points, 8 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 three, and 1 steal in 32 minutes. The Pistons were very impressed with these two games from Wood and gave him the start in the next game against the Oklahoma City Thunder.


It was in this game against the Thunder where Wood broke out. In the first start of the season and only the third of his career, he had 27 points, 12 rebounds, 5 assists, and 3 threes. This was Christian Wood's breakout game and he put the rest of the NBA on notice. In February, he averaged 31.2 minutes, 19.3 points 9.0 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 1.5 threes, 1 steal, and 1 block. This was while shooting 57.4% from 2 and 39.0% from 3.


Christian Wood only got better in March as he averaged 36.9 minutes, 26.6 points, 9.4 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 2 threes, 1 steal, and 0.8 blocks. This was Wood's most efficient month as he shot 68.8% from 2 and 43.5% from 3. The best game of his career was the last game he played before the stoppage. Wood had 32 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 threes, 3 steals, and 2 blocks while playing against Joel Embiid and the 76ers.


Christian Wood has put up some insane stats recently and if he was given this opportunity earlier in the year, he likely would've been an all-star. Christian Wood is the only player on the Detroit Pistons to have a positive net-rating with +2.2 in the minutes he has played this year. Wood does not miss very much when he shoots and he has a 65.4 true shooting percentage and has made 63 percent of his 2 pointers.


If the Detroit Pistons can bring back Christian Wood this offseason, their rebuild will be very bright. Wood will be surrounded by young talent with Sekou Doumbouya and Luke Kennard. The Pistons will also have a top pick in this year's NBA Draft. If they can somehow get rid of Blake Griffin's enormous contract, the Pistons will have the cap space and flexibility to sign some big free agents in the coming years. They have been mediocre for such a long time but if they play their cards right they should be a little better than mediocre in the coming years.


As for Christian Wood, he will likely get a big contract for whoever signs him in free agency. If I were the Pistons, I would do whatever it takes to sign the breakout star in Christian Wood. The Knicks and Hornets have already expressed interest in Wood this offseason. With a brand new front office and a top pick, I would expect Wood to resign with the Pistons and continue to flourish for them.

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