Christian Wood is the pick-and-roll partner that Damian Lillard has needed
For years, Damian Lillard has needed an athletic rim protector behind him, who can finish off plays on the other side of the court. Christian Wood is a perfect candidate for that opening.
Lost in the Kevin Porter Jr. news was the fact that Wood was also suspended for one game, as he was also involved in the spat with Assistant Coach John Lucas.
Wood reportedly arrived late to the game, was benched to start, and then expressed his disdain to come back into the contest in the second half.
While Christian Wood isn’t nearly the headache that Kevin Porter Jr. is, he does come with his own baggage as well.
Pros of trading for Christian Wood:
- Offensive fit: Wood is a perfect second/third option in the NBA. He can create his own offense but is best off finishing plays that are created for him: dump-offs for dunks, wide-open pick-and-pop treys, lobs at the rim, etc.
- Spacing: He spaces the floor both vertically and out to the 3-point line. Having him set screens for Damian Lillard would create space like Dame hasn’t experienced outside of the Olympics and the NBA All-Star game.
- Athletic defender: Wood is a superior rim protector and perimeter defender to Jusuf Nurkic. His agility makes him better suited to run Head Coach Chauncey Billups’s aggressive pick-and-roll defense. He can be bullied on the block, but his pluses outweigh his minus in today’s NBA.
- Upside: Still only 26 years old, Wood has room to grow his game. With a more refined post-game and off-the-bounce package, his offense could experience an even greater boon.
Cons of trading for Christian Wood:
- Higher trade value: Despite his off-court issues, Wood is still a highly coveted asset. Trading for him should be a much heftier task than acquiring Kevin Porter Jr.
- Problems motivating: Christian Wood went undrafted because he showed up to training camps overweight and general managers questioned his ability to buy into his role on a team. On the Trail Blazers, he obviously wouldn’t be the number one option or even the second. With Billups’s struggles getting consistent effort out of his players already, adding Wood could be an even harsher detriment to the team’s morale.
Depending on the price tag, Christian Wood could be the perfect target for the Trail Blazers. Joe Cronin needs to try to drive down his value in a move. Kevin Porter Jr. could be viewed as a negative asset at this point, so perhaps a package deal for both of the Rockets’ troubled youngsters could be a viable option for Portland.