Lakers forward LeBron James drives to the basket against Dallas Mavericks forward Christian Wood during last season’s Christmas Day game. The two will be teammates this season. (Emil T. Lippe / Associated Press)
Inside the Thomas & Mack Center at the Las Vegas Summer League, two front-office employees from the same NBA organization wondered about the most talented free agent still on the board.
One a scale of 1 to 100, they were asked, how would they feel about Christian Wood, the big man with the smooth jumper and the rough reputation, signing with a team for the league minimum?
One scout quickly gave a score in the 80s, citing Wood’s undeniable talent and usefulness on offense. The other executive snickered. His number was lower.
“Zero,” he said.
Late Tuesday night, the Lakers put themselves high on that scale, agreeing to sign Wood to a two-year deal with a player option for the second year.
In terms of talent versus cost, it’s an absolute bargain.
The 6-foot-10, soon-to-be 28-year-old Wood is one of only a handful of players in the NBA with his size and skills. Last season, only six players 6-10 or taller made at least 37% of their three-points shots while taking more than 250 attempts. Wood was one of them — along with Lauri Markkanen, Brook Lopez, Kristaps Porzingis, Bobby Portis and Michael Porter Jr.
Read more: Lakers add a big man to their bench, agreeing to deal with Christian Wood
In the modern NBA, and in particular on a team with LeBron James and Anthony Davis, a floor-spacing big is an incredibly important piece. But as with anything found in the deep discount pile, there’s probably a reason why it’s there.
With Wood, there are questions about his ability to function in a team defense — questions that didn’t get answered in a positive way last season when he played for Dallas — and about his willingness to accept his role, with people seeing a gap between what Wood’s best use would be and what Wood would view as the best use of his talents.
The concerns were serious enough that the Lakers were able to land Wood more than two months into free agency. The only perk Wood was able to…
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Author : LA Times
Publish date : 2023-09-06 23:15:10
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