Christian Wood Will ‘Come Off the Bench’ for Mavericks: Report

Christian Wood of the Dallas Mavericks.

Getty Christian Wood of the Dallas Mavericks.

Although the Dallas Mavericks suffered a huge loss in free agency when Jalen Brunson decided to sign with the New York Knicks, this offseason hasn’t been a total disaster for Dallas. Before free agency even opened, they made waves, trading for big man Christian Wood.

The 26-year-old has emerged as a rising star over his past two seasons with the Houston Rockets. He’s shown flashes of being an All-Star-caliber player, but according to recent reports, he may not be playing in the same role in Dallas.

According to Tim Cato of The Athletic, Wood could be coming off the bench for the Mavericks. He reported that Jason Kidd has already confirmed that JaVale McGee and Spencer Dinwiddie will be starters, and the same can be said for Reggie Bullock and Dorian Finney-Smith. With Luka Doncic (obviously) occupying that final spot, Wood could be relegated to the bench.

“Jason Kidd has declared that Spencer Dinwiddie and JaVale McGee will be starters, joining incumbent starters Dončić and Dorian Finney-Smith. I’ve been told the team’s planning to keep Reggie Bullock as the fifth starter,” Cato reported. “As things currently stand, the team’s splashiest acquisition this summer, Christian Wood, will come off the bench.”

This would be a shocking decision, as Wood has started in 106 of the 107 games he’s appeared in over the past two seasons. However, Cato believes Wood could be better off in a bench role.

Wood’s Bench Role Should Help

Cato noted that, with Wood coming off the bench, the Mavericks should be able to replace the scoring Dallas would be losing with Dinwiddie being moved into the starting lineup. With Brunson moving on and Dinwiddie stepping up to replace him, Wood would be able to help maintain a scoring punch off the bench.

“Wood coming off the bench somewhat replaces the bench scoring role that Dinwiddie served last season, and there’s a lot to like about the trio of him, McGee and Kleber at center,” Cato wrote.

Last season with the Rockets, in 68 games, Wood averaged 17.9 points, 10.1 rebounds, and 2.3 assists on 50.1% shooting from the field and 39.0% shooting from behind the three-point line.

Simultaneously, though, Wood’s injury history needs to be accounted for. Both he and Maxi Kleber have missed some time recently, so having them both coming off the bench could be beneficial, especially considering Dwight Powell’s time with the team could come to an end.

“It’s also worth noting that Wood and Kleber both missed 45 games across the past two seasons,” Cato said. “If Powell’s on the roster to start next season, he’s unlikely to have a major role when the team’s fully healthy — which it inevitably won’t always be.”

Plus, Cato believes Kidd could turn to two-big lineups, anyways.

Mavericks Could Run Two-Big Lineups

Although Cato noted that the Mavericks will likely roll out a starting lineup that does not feature Wood, he does believe Kidd could turn to two-big lineups more often than not.

“A random prediction: I could see one early-season storyline being the team’s hyper effectiveness with Wood as the lone center, despite Kidd leaning into two-big lineups whenever he’s not playing the starters,” said Cato. “I don’t think there would be anything wrong with that; Wood at center could turn into the upcoming season’s version of all three guards on the floor together.”

Regardless of if Wood ends up coming off the bench, he will undoubtedly play a major role in Dallas’ rotation as their second-best scorer behind Doncic.

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