Detroit Pistons: the Big 5 candidates to play Center this year

Christian Wood #35 of the Detroit Pistons (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
Christian Wood #35 of the Detroit Pistons (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) /
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Christian Wood
MIAMI, FLORIDA – NOVEMBER 12: Christian Wood #35 of the Detroit Pistons. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

No. 1: Christian Wood

There was not much positive about the way the Detroit Pistons finished the 2019-20 season. When play was suspended on March 11, they had lost 16 of their last 20 games.

The one positive note at the end: Christian Wood

The 6-foot-10, 214-pound Wood had been hanging around the fringes of the NBA for years. He was one of those guys who looked great in Summer League but, by winter, was seeing most of his action in the G-League.

The Philadelphia 76ers (twice), Milwaukee Bucks and New Orleans Hornets had already cut Wood in his career, when he was brought into Detroit to be a training camp body. If not for a late injury to Joe Johnson, Wood probably would have been sent back once again to the G-League.

Related Story. It’s not a debate: Christian Wood is re-signing with the Detroit Pistons. light

Wood did not immediately set the world on fire. He was inactive for two straight games in mid-December.

But as injuries and trades depleted the Pistons frontcourt, coach Dwane Casey had no choice but to give minutes to Wood. With the confidence that he was now solidly in the rotation, Wood blossomed.

Starting on January 22 in a win over Sacramento, Wood caught fire offensively. He scored 23 points against the Kings and kept up a torrid pace until the end of the season. He scored in double figures in 20 of the Pistons next 22 games,. In those 22 games, he scored 20 or more points nine times, and over 30 twice.

In the Pistons last game to date, Wood poured in 32 points against the team that cut him twice, Philadelphia. For most of that contest he was guarded by Joel Embiid, rated as one of the top defensive centers in the game.

His big finish made Pistons fans look forward to see what Wood could do the following season. There is one problem with that. Wood is not under contract for the 2020-21 season.

A multi-year contract? The Pistons did not even guarantee his one-year, minimum salary deal for the rest of last season until January 10.

In a weak free agent market, despite only standing out for a few months, Wood is suddenly a prized commodity. Estimates have ranged from $10 to as much as $16 million a year to sign Wood.

Wood flourished in Detroit after he struggled at so many other stops. If the money is close, one can assume Wood would prefer returning to the Pistons.

A Twin Towers of Wood and a healthy Blake Griffin would be something for Pistons fans to get excited about.

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If the salary demands are not crazy (and it only takes one team to jack up the price), there is a good chance that Christian Wood will be the Detroit Pistons center this year.