So the first significant trade went down sending over 26-year old forward-center Christian Wood to the Dallas Mavericks while the Houston Rockets willreceive Boban Marjanovic,Sterling Brown,Trey Burke,Marquise Chriss,and the 26th pick of the 2022 NBA Draft which is a week away. Practically the Rockets received a bunch of clutter in this deal with the 26th overall pick being the best asset in what seems like a shallow draft with maybe 2-3 sleeper in the later rounds. What’s important is the Houston Rockets kept Alperen Sengun and Jalen Green who seem to be the foundational pieces in Houston while Christian Wood is more of a win-now piece which bodes well for the Dallas Mavericks who fell just short of the NBA Finals this season.
The Mavericks have decisions to make, do they re-sign Jalen Brunson who helped them get 2 games against Utah without franchise player Luka Doncic or maybe look for more of a complimentary piece to play with the Maverick sensation? I am a LeBron fan and he will forever be my personal choice as the best to ever play in the NBA but if LeBron never surpassed Jordan in LeBron’s critics eyes I believe Luka Doncic will. This kid is such a great player that he does not even need much to win a championship for the Mavericks, it’s no knock on Christian Wood who has never been known as a star at the NBA level but Wood possesses exactly what the Mavericks were missing against the Warriors. All I would ask myself was boy if the Mavericks had any significance of a front-court maybe Luka could get past the Warriors but they got scraps from Powell,Bullock,and Finney-Smith pretty much and Luka passing out of a double team was nothing to scoff at for the Warriors.
The Warriors switch heavy defense worked marvels because the Mavericks quite honestly lacked size in the back-court, I respect Spencer Dinwiddie and Jalen Brunson’s individual games but I don’t want to count on either of those 2 in a huge game against a team as well coached as the Warriors on both ends of the floor. Christian Wood is 26 years old, he is just hitting his prime and has shown he can score upwards of 25+ points any given night in the right situation. I remember him consistently scoring 20 points and hauling down 10 rebounds on the Pistons before shockingly deciding to sign with the Houston Rockets, most thought he’d be the new Anthony Davis but I never bought into it for one second. He’s athletic,can shoot the 3 at a high clip as he shot it at a blistering 39 percent this past season and can actually score around the rim in a variety of ways. In the Mavericks lone win against the Warriors in the Conference Finals Dorian Finney-Smith scored 20+ plus points, Christian Wood will be able to score 20+ routinely for the Mavericks next season.
Dorian Finney-Smith has come along over the years, the exit of Kristaps Porzingis opened up a bigger role for him and all season he showed he is one of the best defenders in the league and reliable stretch 4. The Mavericks locked in as the second half of the season approached, they withstood the nagging injuries to their franchise player Luka Doncic and managed to stay afloat before the slovenian carried them to the finish line of the season and on to the playoffs where they eliminated in the Conference Finals. I am by no means saying that the addition of Christian Wood makes the Dallas Mavericks favorites next season but the organization definitely understands what moves need to be made to put Luka Doncic in a better position to capture the Larry O’Brien trophy next season. I think we’ve gotten so caught up in expecting teams to put superstars together in order to win rings which the Heat,Warriors,and Cavaliers have done with LeBron and Durant that we forget that can also be a disaster, look at the mess Rob Pelinka built in Los Angeles last summer.
The Mavericks are far from a finished product as owner Mark Cuban I am sure wants to keep Luka Doncic happy and will make sure he gives head coach Jason Kidd all the ingredients he will need in order to help coach Luka into a NBA champion next season but they will be scary. Can Christian Wood be the second option of a championship, well that all depends on who you have riding the ship and Luka Doncic will arguably be the best player in the league going into next season and the favorite for the MVP trophy as well. Luka is a jack of all trades and Christian Wood might not possess former Mavericks Kristaps Porzingis length and isolation skills but he is not far off. Wood plays more like a big man as opposed to Kristaps but he is a proficient shooter from all over the floor and a very capable shot-blocker and rebounder. With all the attention Luka will garner, Wood could average 20+ points next season and be a more compatible sidekick for Luka as opposed to Kristaps who grew frustrated in his role. I’ll conclude here, great move for the Dallas Mavericks they are my sleeper pick for the title next season.