Listen to Jim Eichenhofer & Daniel Sallerson's Review of Christian Wood's 2018-19 Performance
Only two and a half weeks elapsed between Wood’s New Orleans debut March 24 vs. Houston and the team’s regular season finale April 9 vs. Golden State, but the forward/center managed to make a massive impression in a brief amount of time. After Wood had never logged more than 23 minutes of action in any game during his three seasons in the NBA, the UNLV product did so five times in his eight New Orleans games, frequently producing in ways you’d never reasonably expect from a G League call-up.
“It was fun,” Wood said of his experience during an April 10 exit interview. “I came in early, got an opportunity. I felt like I showed what I was capable of, showed what I can do. I was pretty happy with it.”
Among Wood’s eye-opening performances: a 23-point, nine-rebound, six-block night vs. Atlanta in just his second Pelicans game, as well as him going for 26 and 12 against the Warriors. He’d put up quality numbers before in NBA Summer League and the G League, but this was the first time Wood did so at the sport’s premier level.
“It’s been a blessing, man. I set three career highs, I was in double figures (in points in) six out of the eight (games),” said Wood, who established career bests in points, rebounds and blocks. “I’d never gotten the opportunity to do that in the league before. I’m showing what I can do, playing with heart, playing with energy. I made the best of my opportunities.”
Wood pinpointed two areas he plans to work on this offseason. He was uncertain whether he’d play in summer league for New Orleans, after being named First-Team All-Summer League in ’18 while playing for Milwaukee’s entry.
“Probably strength and my shooting,” Wood said of his focus over the next few months. “I feel like I can be stronger and be a better shooter. That will help me out in the long run. I don’t want to put on too much weight to slow me down a little bit, but (enough muscle) to keep me stable throughout the season, keep me from getting hurt. It’s a big summer for me.”
BY THE NUMBERS
It was an extremely small sample size of eight games and 189 total minutes, but Wood averaged 25.7 points per 36 minutes, trailing only Anthony Davis (28.3) among Pelicans players. Julius Randle averaged 25.2 points per 36 minutes. On a per-36-minute basis, Wood was also third on the squad in rebounding (12.0) and second in shot-blocking (1.9).
Career G League games for Wood. He’s played 51 regular season NBA games.
Percentage of Wood’s career NBA minutes that came with New Orleans between March 24 and April 9. His 189 minutes were more than he played in Philadelphia (145), Charlotte (107) and Milwaukee (62).