The Detroit Pistons’ season has been a roller coaster and so has the way the organization and fans have viewed Christian Wood. Just this fall, Wood was an NBA throwaway who was nearly out of the league and now he is one of the brightest stars in the Pistons dreary sky. Wood talked about his journey to Detroit with Bad Boy Rick Mahorn earlier this month. Now the question has moved from “should the Pistons re-sign Wood?” to “do you think Wood would want to re-sign with the Pistons?”
For now, I believe the answer is yes, he would want to re-sign. However, Wood, despite averaging 20.7 points and 10.5 rebounds in six games since Andre Drummond was traded to Cleveland, has not started the last two games and it’s becoming borderline disrespectful.
After his stellar performance in a 107-104 loss to the Blazers, where Wood scored 26 points and grabbed 9 rebounds off the bench, he voiced that he believes he should start.
“I think I’ve earned the right to start,” he said. “I feel like I’ve played well this season. I feel like I want to start and I’m ready. When the opportunity presents itself, I’ll be ready. But I can only control what I can control. I trust Casey’s decision.”
The fact that Wood used the word trust is telling because trust is a fragile thing in professional sports and it is an easy thing to lose especially if another team offers him a better contract during the off-season.
After the Blazers game, Coach Dwane Casey went as far as to call out his starters, “That’s two games in a row our start has been atrocious. We’re too calm. I want to see somebody get upset and mad and break a bottle or something.” Another reason Wood should start is that you never have to question his work ethic or motor. Casey further stated how he feels the wirey big-man is coming along.
“He’s not a finished product yet. “Christian’s got to get stronger. This summer, he’s got to get in the weight room and make sure he gets stronger. Not as far as bulky, but get his core strength together where he can take some bumps and hits. He’s getting bumped now and still scoring, so you can imagine how much better he can be once he does get his core stronger and his upper body stronger.”
With the Pistons being one of the worst teams in the NBA, there is no reason for Wood not to start. Thankfully it appears Coach Dwane Casey has started to change his tune and hopefully this change comes before he sours on the organization. Wood has shown he is more than a bench player and that he possibly has the upside to rival Blake Griffin as one of the team’s best offensive options.
The future is looking bright for this former cast off and the Pistons need to allow him to start so he can build trust and chemistry with this team before he walks in free agency, as he will become an unrestricted free agent in July. There will be numerous teams interested in Wood, as it was reported that multiple organizations tried to trade for him at the trade deadline at the beginning of February.
When you are clearly one of the best players on the roster, you deserve to be starting. Wood fits that bill. It’s up to Dwane Casey and the Pistons to fix their approach with his playing time before it is too late.
Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports