Detroit Pistons: It’s Christian Wood’s time to shine

The Detroit Pistons traded Andre Drummond at the trade deadline and opened up a ton of minutes for Christian Wood. It’s time he steps up.

Before the NBA season started, Christian Wood was fighting for the last roster spot in the Detroit Pistons rotation. Questions about his work ethic lingered but he managed to impress the coaching staff with his pure talent.

He has come a long way since then, showing that he’s not only flash but substance as well. During the season, he’s shown major improvement in doing the little things a big man has to do.

He’s averaging 10.8 points and 5.5 rebounds in only 18.3 minutes per game. That translates to 21.3 points and 10.7 rebounds per 36 minutes. Not only is he putting the ball in the basket but he’s doing so with great efficiency, a staggering 66.2 true shooting percentage.

Related Story: Grading the trade that sent Andre Drummond to Cleveland

Pistons’ head coach, Dwane Casey, was reluctant to hand him minutes early in the season, holding him accountable for his lack of effort and focus. That approach has certainly paid off so far and Casey is repeating that message.

Now that Andre Drummond is gone, Wood has to take another step with an increased role, Rod Beard of the Detroit News reports:

“I told the team that it’s time for Christian step up. The OMG moments are gone and now it’s real. You don’t have someone to fall back on,” Casey said. “It’s time to step in. This is for our young guys to grow up, to be responsible, be pros, do what you’re supposed to do and do your job. As much as anything right now, these last 30 games, make sure you do the job on the floor and off the floor to help the Detroit Pistons become a winning program.

Early signs were promising in the game against the Oklahoma City Thunder.Wood scored 27 points on ten out of eighteen field goal attempts and three out of six three-point shots in his first game after Drummond’s trade.

He also grabbed 12 rebounds, dished five assists and only had one turnover.Wood does most of his scoring as a roll man where he ranks in the 93.2 percentile, scoring 1.44 points per possession.

Also: What could Luke Kennard's next contract look like with Detroit?

He has made 129 out of 164 attempts in the restricted area overall, good for 78.7 percent. He has already dunked the ball 78 times so far.

Well, Wood tries to dunk everything. He knows how to use his length to finish over defenders even when he has a disadvantage in strength. And he’s learned to use his length on the defensive end as well.

As bad as he was to start the season, he’s made strides in Casey’s drop pick and roll coverage. He’s blocking 1.6 shots per 36 minutes and opponents are shooting 5.6 percent worse than their average when they meet Wood within six feet of the rim.

At first, he let bigs dive behind him on rolls with ease but nowadays he’s keeping people in front of him, contesting shots at the rim and even intercepting some lobs.

And when the team gets the ball, his long strides allow him to rim run and find easy looks. In fact, 75.7 percent of his buckets are assisted, showing that he can be a high volume scorer without the ball in his hands.

In addition, he’s following Casey’s shot spectrum religiously. When he’s not rolling to the rim, he’s spotting up and he does so with absolutely amazing efficiency. He ranks in the 92.3 percentile of spot-up shooters, scoring 1.24 points per possession.

He’s shooting 38.5 percent on threes. Overall, 76.8 percent of his attempts come either inside the restricted area or behind the three-point line, which makes him the epitome of the modern NBA big man.

A 6’10” long and versatile big man that can catch and shoot from three as well as pull up is a very valuable commodity. And when defenders close out on him, he’s comfortable enough to pump fake and take it to the basket with his long strides.

Very promising was the fact that he had five assists against the Thunder. He showed that he can take on more responsibilities creating from the perimeter as Drummond did. The Pistons are going to need production from the elbows and Wood has to show that he can make good decisions with the ball.

Next: Taking a look at Andre Drummond's legacy in Detroit

The path is wide open for Christian Wood to show that he can take on a bigger role and a bigger payday. Now, he has to show commitment and consistency.

 

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