Can Christian Wood survive the reconstruction?
When the Houston Rockets signed Christian Wood last offseason for three years and $ 41 million, they landed one of the best deals in recent history. Rookie contracts aside, a quality Wood player, nearly 20 points and 10 rebounds per game, is not available for $ 13 million per season.
It’s often forgotten, but the Rockets were a .500 team last season before Christian Wood sprained his ankle. With Wood out, the Rockets embarked on a 20-game losing streak. By the time he returned and regained his footing, the season was already over.
In the sophomore year at Houston, Wood is averaging 19.8 points and 11.2 rebounds on a 3-point shot at 46.2 percent. He once again builds a legitimate All-Star case. Sadly, the Rockets, once again, are building a legitimate case for the overall top pick.
Christian Wood is in the prime of his life and the Rockets are in their first year of a rebuild. It’s reasonable to ask, does Christian Wood have the stomach for reconstruction?
The Rockets are 1-4 with their only win over the equally sad Oklahoma City Thunder. In fact, this victory masks how poor the team has been. Their differential of -7.2 points per game would be -17.25 without their 33-point victory over the Thunder. Simply put, the Rockets won’t be near the playoffs.
Christian Wood is 26 years old, an All-Star to the limit, and has never tasted victory at the NBA level. The Rockets were right to identify his talent and give him a long run to show it, but they run the risk of breaking his morale as he goes through another losing season.
Wood was a good soldier, but part of it proved that he belonged to the NBA. He’s proven it, and now he’s entering the phase of his career where he’s going to want to prove he can be part of winning. As good as his stats are, it’s easy to say, âBut does that lead to wins? “
Does Wood have the courage to keep fighting game after game in a season where the team has no desire to win? Does Wood risk getting hurt knowing it won’t be for nothing? These are not questions about Wood’s character, they are simply about human nature.
Wood played with James Harden and John Wall last season. He knows what All-NBA and Championship caliber players are capable of. At some point, the Rockets may have to face Wood well. Unless Christian Wood has the stomach for a rebuild, they may have to consider moving him to greener pastures.