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Big| 6’11 | 216 | UNLV
Projected: Late 1st round
Best Case: Serge Ibaka
Most Likely: Anthony Randolph
Worst Case: Chris Johnson
Christian Wood is a real modern day NBA prospect. A lanky 6’11 big man, he has range on his jumpshot, ball-handling skills and blocks shots at an elite rate. He’s not yet 20 years old but spent his sophmore season putting up 16 points, 10 boards and 3 blocks a game against decent compeition, good for a 25 PER. His 7’3 wingspan and 9’4 standing reach would be generous for a center, yet he moves and shoots more like a small forward. He has a frame that should take added bulk without issue and a quick, bouncy jumping ability that reminds me of Tristan Thompson, allowing him to snag offensive boards at will. All those qualities explain why I think he could be as intimidating and versatile a player as Serge Ibaka but don’t really explain why he’s available in the Blazers draft range. So what’s the catch?
Basically, he’s raw. Awful defensive awareness, poor shot selection, high turnover rate – the works. Wood is slight and shies away from physical play, which might prevent his stellar defensive rebounding numbers from translating to the NBA. His propensity to fall for pump fakes will be thoroughly taken advantage of by NBA vets, so foul trouble will likely be an issue for him to overcome as well. Occasionally Wood likes to show off his ball-handling skills by dribbling full court on the break. This worked from time to time in college, I doubt it will be as effective in the pros. This summary probably gives some clues to why he may well end up as an Anthony Randolph type – the embodiment of unharness raw talent.
The last option is that Wood fails to put on weight, Chris Johnson style, and all his speed and athleticism is for nought as he finds himself stuck between positions and glued to the bench. I think his stroke and aggression in the open court alone will prevent him from this type of borderline NBA fate but the history of lanky, rangy, bouncy big men successfully transitioning from college to the league isn’t a long one.
For the Blazers, Wood might offer a good project at PF if LA were to leave but is unlikely to have an immediate impact in the event that he stays and the team continues to strive for contention. Given that LA’s decision won’t be known at draft time, I don’t feel like Wood is the type of prospect we’ll be after. Also, Meyers is an athletic big man with range and skills in the open court, so even though they are perhaps stuck between different positions there is some duplication there. Wood might be a good talent grab at our position in a relatively shallow draft but I doubt he’s the talent we’ll be grabbing.