Year-In-Review: Christian Wood
Throughout his first professional campaign, Christian Wood compiled a transaction log that reflected the perks associated with the the 76ers having an NBA Development League affiliate close by.
An undrafted but intriguing tall, lanky big man prospect with range, the 6’11”, 220-pound Wood finished the season the way he started it, as a member of the Sixers’ NBA roster. Over the final two weeks of the club’s slate, Wood checked into in three contests, including the Sixers’ second-to-last outing of the year on April 12th in Toronto. That night, he played 19 minutes, the second-highest total of his NBA career, and manufactured eight points (2-5 fg, 4-8 ft) and five rebounds.
Wood had previously assumed a bench role for the Sixers during the first month of the season as well. From opening night through November 20th, the University of Nevada - Las Vegas product averaged 3.9 points and 2.5 rebounds in 11 contests. He shot 42.1 percent from the field, and converted three of seven three-point attempts.
Recognizing that Wood’s playing time with the Sixers would likely be scarce as the season went along, especially once Carl Landry returned from injury, the front office opted to reassign Wood to the Delaware 87ers, where he could receive extensive opportunities to further refine on his skills. And that’s what happened.
Wood appeared in 32 tilts for the Sevens, 22 of which were starts. He averaged 17.3 points and team-best 9.4 rebounds (also eighth in the NBADL) in 28.8 minutes per contest. Additionally, Wood converted nearly 53.0 percent of his field goals, and connected on 22 of 87 heaves from outside the arc.
“You get better down there,” Wood said. “Down there, you work on your game, and play against good competition, and you just get better. That’s something...that [people] don’t see.”
Owned and operated by the Sixers since 2013, the Sevens are located in Newark, about 45 minutes south of The Center down I-95. The Sevens’ close proximity to Philadelphia allowed for Wood to be shuttled back and forth between the NBA and NBADL almost seamlessly.
In all, Wood was recalled from Delaware four times, before he signed a pair of 10-day contracts with the Sixers in March. After the second one, Wood inked a deal on April 7th to remain with the big squad for the rest of the season.
“It was a learning experience for me,” said Wood of this past season. “As a rookie, going up and down from here and the D-League, definitely learned a lot. Learned the game a little bit better, and me being only 20 years old. It was definitely a great learning experience.”
Season Shot Chart:
Of the 17 games he played at the NBA level this season, Wood turned in his most productive results in a November 13th road outing at Oklahoma City. Logging 19 minutes in his eighth game, he generated 15 points (5-7 fg, 1-1 3fg, 4-5 ft), eight rebounds, and two blocked shots.
Down in the NBA Development League, though, is where Wood delivered some explosive two-way performances. He produced 15 double-doubles, including a 20-point, 21-rebound game versus the Raptors’ NBADL affiliate on December 20th.
Later in the season, on February 28th, he erupted for 45 points (16-23 fg, 3-5 3fg) and 13 boards against the Canton Charge, Cleveland’s NBADL team. Wood’s scoring output was the third-highest total in Sevens’ history.
With Wood having spent a bulk of his season in the NBADL, rather than in the NBA, we’ll take a look at a significant stat from his time with the 87ers. This year, Wood’s 32 outings with the Sevens ranked third on the team. Amidst that period, he posted a Player Impact Estimate of 13.7, according to stats.nbadleague.com. That figure was the best of its kind on the Sevens’ roster, and gauges the overall effect that a player has on a game.
In his two years at UNLV, Wood - for a player of his size - demonstrated respectable progress in terms of his perimeter offense. After hitting just 22.0 percent of his three-point attempts (11 for 50) as a freshman, Wood proved to be an even more willing outside shooter as a sophomore. He sunk 28.4 percent of his triple tries (25 for 88) in year two with the Runnin’ Rebels, and showed enough potential from deep to catch the attention of NBA scouts.
During the Sixers’ November 14th visit to San Antonio, Wood put his long-range touch on display, connecting on what would be his third and final three of the season. In the sequence below, Spurs’ All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge appeared to be unsuspecting of Wood’ inclination to shoot from distance. The rookie capitalized on the open look.
Wood will head back to his hometown of Henderson, Nevada to spend time with his mother before beginning his off-season training. Most of his work, he said, will take place in Las Vegas.