Lakers insider reveals likely starting frontcourt this season after Christian Wood acquisition

Jesse Cinquini
3 Min Read

Big man Christian Wood agreed to a two-year, $5.7 million deal with the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday. It is a shrewd deal for the Lakers, as Wood is a starting-caliber center who will make less than $3 million for the 2023-24 season.

But while Wood is a starting-caliber center, a report indicates the early expectation is that he will come off the bench for the Lakers. Rui Hachimura is likely to start in the frontcourt alongside Anthony Davis and LeBron James.

“The early expectation is that Wood will come off the bench with Rui Hachimura the likely frontcourt starter next to LeBron James and Anthony Davis, according to team sources,” Jovan Buha wrote. “At a minimum, Wood will be the primary backup center behind Davis while occasionally teaming with him in two-big lineups. He should average around 20 minutes per game when everyone is healthy.”

Wood, 27, went undrafted in the 2015 NBA Draft after a two-season stint playing college basketball at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He had himself a forgettable freshman season, though. He played in 30 games during the 2013-14 season but averaged just 4.5 points, 3.2 rebounds and 1.0 block per game on 41.0 percent shooting from the field.

It wasn’t until Wood’s second and final season at UNLV that he established himself as a legitimate college basketball star. He averaged 15.7 points, 10.0 rebounds and a whopping 2.7 blocks per game across 33 games played during the 2014-15 season (32 starts).

The 6-foot-9 big man has played for seven teams — the Houston Rockets, Dallas Mavericks, Detroit Pistons, Philadelphia 76ers, Charlotte Hornets, Milwaukee Bucks and New Orleans Pelicans — in his seven seasons in the NBA. He averaged 16.6 points, 7.3 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.1 blocks per game in 67 appearances with the Mavericks during the 2022-23 regular season (17 starts).

Arguably Wood’s best season in the NBA came during the 2021-22 season when he was a member of the Rockets. He was maybe the best player on that iteration of the Rockets, as he averaged a team-high 17.9 points per game during the regular season to go along with 10.1 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game. Wood also shot the ball efficiently from the field, considering he converted 50.1 percent of his field-goal attempts and 39.0 percent of his three-point attempts.

Lakers fans should be excited about the team acquiring Wood, as he’s one of the more talented offensive players at his position in the NBA. Expect him to serve as an invaluable role player for the Lakers during the 2023-24 regular season.

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Jesse is a sports journalist with extensive experience covering the NBA. He has worked as a staff writer covering the Lakers’ dreaded rivals, the Boston Celtics, for SB Nation. He has also covered the New York Knicks for The Knicks Wall.