Rockets big man Christian Wood has used a perceived Team USA Olympic selection slight and a positional switch from center to power forward as fuel for his own development, per Kelly Iko of The Athletic.
“(The move to power forward from center) allows me to show what I can do, and it allows the floor to be open, and I can create for other guys and I can create for myself,” said Wood, who connected on 37.4% of his 5.0 three point looks per night during the 2020/21 season. “I wanted to be one of the best bigs in this league, and I have to go out every night and show that.”
“There’s been big-time growth, there’s been big-time maturity, there’s been a lot,” head coach Stephen Silas raved following a 31-point, 14-rebound, three-block performance from Wood in a 124-91 victory over the Thunder on Friday. “I think another part of it is the fact that this is the first time he’s been on the same team for two consecutive years. And you see the growth from year to year, you see the trust that goes back and forth between he and I, the trust that goes back and forth between him and his teammates who know him and know what he can do.”
There’s more out of the Lone Star State:
- Newly-acquired Rockets center Daniel Theis hopes to stick around Houston to watch the club’s exciting young core develop, writes Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle. “I want to help them grow and get better on court, off court,” Theis said. “I have a good relationship with Jalen (Green). He listens a lot on the court, off the court he’s going to learn a lot. The same with Scoot (Kevin Porter Jr.)… Just help them to grow and get better.” The 6’8″ Theis is starting at center after signing a four-year, $36MM contract with Houston in a sign-and-trade with the Bulls over the summer. The addition of Theis has allowed for the 6’10” Wood to move to the power forward position.
- On Saturday night, Spurs shooting guard Bryn Forbes reunited with his last club, the Bucks, with whom he won the NBA title this summer. Ahead of the game, he expressed his eagerness to collect his championship ring, per Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News. “I’m excited to have that in my possession and hold it,” Forbes said. “It’s an accomplishment you dream of your whole life.”
- Young Spurs small forward Keldon Johnson appears to be developing nicely during this early portion of his third NBA season, writes Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News. The 22-year-old Johnson, selected with the No. 29 pick out of Kentucky in 2019, set a career high for points in a half with 18 against the Nuggets Friday, finishing with 27 for the game. “I just keep pressure on the rim,” Johnson said. “That’s what I do.” In recent comments, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich offered a frank appraisal of Johnson’s strengths — and weaknesses. “When he catches and makes quick decisions — shoots it or passes it — that works best for him,” Popovich said. “When he’s just dribbling and trying to beat somebody, that doesn’t work out very well.”