Lakers

Wood Tops Off Lakers’ Depth

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The Los Angeles Lakers finally filled their 14th roster spot and third center slot with the reported signing of Christian Wood.

The former Maverick signed a two-year, $5.7 million deal, Adrian Wojnarowski reported.

Aside from filling a dire need in their frontcourt, the Lakers took a flyer signing Wood for the minimum. He is a skill big that bolsters L.A.’s scoring depth. The seven-year vet averaged 16.6 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game on 51.5/37.6/77.2 shooting splits last season.

Considering the price Los Angeles got him at, even a fraction of that raises the Lakers’ ceiling by a great margin.

“It’s always been my dream to be a Laker,” Wood said in a tweet following Wojnarowski’s. Many players dream to be a Laker, but few have to prove themselves like Wood does.

BREAKING DOWN THE FIT

What L.A. needed after their conference finals loss was clear — depth at center. The addition of Wood along with Jaxson Hayes in the early offseason supplements the depth behind Anthony Davis. It might even move Davis back to the forward position more often too.

So, how exactly does Wood fit with this current Lakers squad? Let’s break down the different facets in which he can be used.

Backup center off the bench

If Darvin Ham decides to stick with Davis as L.A.’s starting center, Wood is a substantially better option in the non-Davis minutes than in past seasons. As Davis enters what could be his most important season as a Laker, being able to optimize him by surviving when he’s off the floor is essential.

Production similar to Wood’s last season off the bench for Los Angeles would make the Lakers a juggernaut.

Starting next to Davis

Part of Wood’s appeal are his pick-and-roll and floor-stretching abilities. In his tenure with L.A., Davis has not had a center next to him that can space the floor to the level that Wood can. Not to mention, Wood is an underrated shot-blocker.

While Wood put up above average numbers last season, those numbers jumped as a starter. In 17 games in the starting lineup, Wood averaged 20.4 points, 9.4 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per game.

This frontcourt tandem has the potential defensively to be one of the best in the league.

THE KNOCKS ON WOOD

Like most every player in the NBA, Wood is not perfect. There is a reason he wasn’t sought after by the entire league. Whether it’s questions about his desire to grind or about him as a teammate, this is part of the gamble the Lakers are taking.

Los Angeles has been a hot bed for minimum players reinventing themselves in recent years. Look at players like Dennis Schröder and Malik Monk to name a few.

Being a Laker requires a simple mindset — be the best player you can and put in the necessary work to achieve that. The front office typically steers away from players opposite of that.

Now, Wood has his reputational flaws, but this is the perfect place for him to prove himself. Playing with a player like LeBron James comes with mass amounts of accountability. Wood is now being put in a position to affect one of the most storied legacies in sports history. It is up to him to prove himself.

IT’S A WIN-WIN DEAL

Regardless of the outcome, this deal positively affects both sides. For Wood, he has the opportunity to extend his tenure in the league by contributing to a contender. For Los Angeles, they acquired him for a fraction of what he may be worth and with the player option, they have more flexibility with him next year.

Regardless of his flaws, one thing is certain about Wood’s signing — the Lakers’ ceiling was raised to another level.

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About Connor Moreno

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