Christian Wood leading Rockets to more wins with vocal presence, better efficiency

·2 min read
Christian Wood leading Rockets to more wins with vocal presence, better efficiency

Any NBA coach will tell you that the one thing they look for in their players is consistency and growth throughout the season. Now in his second year as a regular starter, Houston Rockets center Christian Wood has provided that for his team as the 2021-22 season has progressed.

On Sunday, the 26-year-old recorded his 20th double-double of the season in a victory over the Sacramento Kings, finishing the game with 23 points and 14 rebounds. His presence late in the game was vital, as he put his teammates in the proper positions by calling out defensive sets that would stop the Kings from making a comeback. With the win, the young Rockets (13-32) have now won two of their last three games.

“Christian was so good in his talk in the pick-and-roll, as good as he’s been all season,” head coach Stephen Silas said of Wood. “His early talk, you could see we were organized, we could get our protection behind the ball. Communication brings organization, and he did it.”

Wood has inserted himself even more since coming back from the one-game suspension that he received from Silas, which reportedly came due to breaking a team rule associated with COVID-19 testing.

Since his return, the Rockets have gone 3-4 over the last seven games, and Wood is averaging 21.4 points (54.0% FG, 41.6% on 3-pointers), 8.7 rebounds, and 1.6 steals per game during that run.

Houston’s record is much improved relative to before, since they had lost eight in a row before Wood helped lead them to a streak-busting victory at Washington on Jan. 5. He has relentlessly talked about being a leader on the court, and as of late, it is starting to show in his play.

During a game in San Antonio this past Wednesday, Wood took over the role of playmaker by finding mismatches on the offensive end of the court and getting the ball to players like Jae’Sean Tate and Eric Gordon, allowing them to exploit the smaller or slower player in front of them.

The tasks for Wood and the Rockets will get more challenging when Houston travels to Utah on Wednesday night, followed by a game against the Golden State Warriors on Friday in San Francisco.

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