In the 2023-2024 season, Christian Wood’s selfless approach on the court has made a significant impact on the Los Angeles Lakers.
- Christian Wood, known for his offensive prowess, has shifted his focus to defense this season.
- Despite a drop in his scoring average, Wood’s defensive contributions have been vital.
- His team-first mentality is benefiting the Lakers, making his signing a potential offseason steal.
In the 2023-2024 NBA season, Christian Wood, the 7th-year forward for the Los Angeles Lakers, may not be lighting up the box scores with his scoring, but his impact on the team is undeniable. Wood’s transition to a team-first mentality, with an emphasis on defense, has been a game-changer for the Lakers.
Throughout his career, Wood was recognized as an offensive force, notably averaging over 20 points per game during the 2020-2021 season with the Houston Rockets. However, this season, he has taken a step back on the offensive end, averaging only 7.0 points per game. The change in his approach is clear: he’s prioritizing his Lakers teammates’ success over his own.
“I gotta keep doing the little stuff, the dirty work — setting screens, running, playing my part,” Wood expressed to second-year Head Coach Darvin Ham.
But it’s not just about a reduced offensive focus for Wood. Instead, he has redirected his efforts toward becoming a defensive presence. While this may not always translate to big numbers on the stat sheet, the 28-year-old’s impact in the paint is undeniable. His ability to disrupt opponents’ plays and protect the rim has been crucial for the Lakers’ success.
Playing alongside defensive stalwart Anthony Davis has undoubtedly played a part in Wood’s defensive improvement. However, it’s evident that Wood’s shift in mentality towards a team-first approach has been instrumental in the Lakers’ improved performance this season.
What’s even more remarkable is that Christian Wood’s contributions come at an incredible value for the Lakers. He signed a two-year, veteran’s minimum deal worth only $5.7 million in the offseason. Considering the impact he’s had on the team’s success, it’s increasingly looking like one of the most significant steals of the 2023 NBA offseason.
In a league often dominated by scoring, Christian Wood’s willingness to adapt his game and prioritize defense over personal statistics is a testament to his commitment to the Lakers’ success. As the season progresses, his impact on the team’s fortunes will continue to be a storyline worth following closely.