Did the Detroit Pistons trade away a future All-Star?

Christian Wood #35 of the Houston Rockets drives to the net ahead of Cade Cunningham #2 of the Detroit Pistons . (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)
Christian Wood #35 of the Houston Rockets drives to the net ahead of Cade Cunningham #2 of the Detroit Pistons . (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images) /

Christian Wood recently revealed that when he and Derrick Rose were with the Detroit Pistons, the former MVP made a prediction about Wood’s future.

Christian Wood is one of those feel-good stories about players bouncing around the fringes of the NBA before finding success. And it looks like a very important teammate predicted even bigger things for him.

Wood, a 6-10 center, now with the Dallas Mavericks, recently posted that when he and guard Derrick Rose were with the Pistons, the 2011 MVP gave him encouragement about how his career would go.

Considering where Wood was in his career, for an MVP to tell him that, was quite bold.

Isn’t he good, Christian Wood? Why yes.

Many Pistons know his backstory.

In 2019, Wood was in Detroit’s training camp trying to hook on with a team after bouncing between the NBA and the G-League the previous three years. Wood had been signed, and cut, by the Process-era 76ers twice.

Wood most likely would have been cut by the Pistons as well, but a training camp injury to Joe Johnson opened up a spot.

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When center Andre Drummond was traded, Wood’s playing time increased and he flourished, scoring in double figures in 19 of his final 20 games in the season. Wood scored 30 or more in two of his last three games.

While Wood did well, the Pistons overall were awful that season, and a new general manager, Troy Weaver, was brought in.

Wood had been on a non-guaranteed minimum salary. His position was so tenuous at the start, that the team did not guarantee his salary until January. But now, if the Pistons wanted to retain him, it would cost a lot more.

Weaver made the decision he was more interested in draft picks than keeping Wood, so he arranged a sign-and-trade with the Houston Rockets which resulted in the Pistons drafting promising young center (and now power forward) Isaiah Stewart.

Wood received a three-year, $41 million deal from the Rockets. Houston thought he would work well with their star guards James Harden and Russell Westbrook. We know how that worked out, Harden and Westbrook were soon gone and the Rockets have been awful and rebuilding ever since.

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He missed some games due to injury but, when he was on the court, Wood was a major contributor, when motivated to play. He averaged 19 points, 9.9 rebounds and even a career-high 2.1 assists for Houston over two seasons

But Houston only won 37 games in those two years and, like Detroit was two years ago, are looking to the future and do need to spend big money to retain Wood.

.In another part of Texas, the Dallas Mavericks are looking to win now. A trade was arranged for Wood, sending Pistons fan favorite Boban Marjanovic and four other players plus a first-round pick to Houston for him.

So will Christian Wood become an All-Star this year?

Playing with Luka Doncic certainly can make a player look good, ask the newly enriched Jalen Brunson. The Mavericks weakness in the middle was exposed by the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference finals last season, they  are hoping Wood will add some punch to their inside game.

Wood can score, rebound and has become a decent three-point shooter as well. He is not a player who needs the ball constantly in his hands to be effective, which means he should fit in well playing with Doncic.

Ever since he had a major role in Detroit, Wood has put up good stats, which is very important for all-star consideration. He probably will average in the 19-21 points, 10-11 rebounds a game vicinity.

The fact Wood is now on one of the better teams in the West should also help his all-star chances. Coaches (who vote for the non-starters) do look at the standings. Jerami Grant was always hurt in his all-star hopes by the fact the Pistons record was so bad.

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There are two main obstacles to Wood being thought of as an All-Star level player:

  1. His defense. At 214 pounds, Wood can get outmuscled. He is also not much of a shotblocker, averaging less than a block a game in his career.
  2. His team’s record. Wood puts up nice stats and looks good but Detroit and Houston lost most of the games he played in. Wood has to show he can contribute to a team with a winning record.

Since Doncic is a shoe-in to be an All-Star, the Mavericks will probably have to have a good record to get a second player on the West All-Star team.

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Will Derrick Rose’s prediction prove correct? Wood will certainly put up all-star worthy numbers, the rest is up to the team to succeed and how other top players in the conference are doing.