After losing out on Jalen Brunson in free agency, the biggest move for the Dallas Mavericks this offseason was trading for Christian Wood. The 26-year-old performed well during his time in Houston and should be a great frontcourt partner for Luka Doncic. Last season, Wood averaged 17.9 PPG and 10.1 RPG across 68 games.
While on ESPN’s “NBA Today,” Tim MacMahon opened up on the state of the Mavericks going forward. It was there he cited Wood as one of the biggest wildcards in the Western Conference this season.
“One of the bigger wildcards in the Western Conference is Christian Wood,” said MacMahon. “Certainly has proven that he can be productive, this is his chance to prove he can be a winner. How exactly he fits is TBD. They promised JaVale McGee the starting five job.”
Along with trading for Wood, the Mavericks solidified their frontcourt depth by bringing in former champion JaVale McGee on a three-year, $17.2 million deal. The veteran big man spent last season with the Phoenix Suns, where he averaged 9.2 PPG and 6.7 RPG coming off the bench.
With McGee being offered the starting spot, Jorge Sedano suggested that Wood embrace a new role. He thinks the young big man could learn a thing or two from former San Antonio Spurs guard Manu Ginobili.
“Listen if Manu Ginobili, who was a Hall of Famer, can come off the bench and be a sixth man forever. Christian Wood, I actually think it would be in his best interest to come off the bench personally,” said Sedano.
Could Christian Wood and JaVale McGee Play Together?
While it’s unlikely they start alongside each other every night, a case can be made for them sharing the floor for stretches. What makes this possible is Christian Wood‘s ability to space the floor.
In recent years, Wood has adding to his game and become a respectable floor spacer. For his career, he shoots a stellar 38% from beyond the arc. In each of the last two seasons, Wood has shot at least 37% from deep on five attempts per game.
Spacing is essential in today’s NBA. Especially with a star like Luka Doncic, who garners a lot of attention. Since one of the two big men can take their game beyond the three-point line, they should be able to co-exist. This jumbo-sized lineup could also come in handy against a team like the Minnesota Timberwolves following their trade for Rudy Gobert.
Mavs Are Optimistic They Can Replace Jalen Brunson’s Production
Heading into this season, the biggest obstacle for the Mavericks is replacing the production of Jalen Brunson. The young guard is fresh off a career year and now on his way to New York. While he walked away for nothing, the team is still confident they can replace what he brought to the floor.
While speaking with Jorge Sedano, Tim MacMahon mentioned that the Mavs believe the return of Tim Hardaway Jr. and the addition of Christian Wood can fill the void left by Brunson.
“They feel like they can replace that scoring. Tim Hardaway Jr. coming back after missing most of last season, all the playoffs with injuries,” said MacMahon. “With Hardaway and Wood coming in, they feel like they can at least replace Brunson’s scoring.”
In his last full season with the Mavericks, Hardaway Jr. averaged 16.6 PPG and 1.8 APG while shooting 39.1% from beyond the arc.