The Mavericks‘ plan to start JaVale McGee at center and utilize his fellow five Christian Wood off the bench may test the limits of the team culture second-year head coach Jason Kidd has been cultivating in Dallas, writes Callie Caplan of The Dallas Morning News. So far though, Wood appears willing to play whatever role is asked of him.
“I’m not really worried about who starts the game, more so who’s finishing the game,” Wood said on Monday, addressing a potential reserve role in Dallas. “If people were asking, ‘How would he feel coming off the bench?’ I’m not worried. It’s something that most likely will happen in talks with extensions and talks with free agency, but during the season, it’s not going to get me off my pivot.”
Wood enjoyed a typically productive 2021/22 season on a lottery-bound Rockets team. He averaged 17.9 PPG, 10.1 RPG, 2.3 APG, 1.0 BPG and 0.8 SPG in 68 games. He also connected on 39% of a high-volume 4.9 three-point attempts.
Meanwhile, during Kidd’s first season as head coach last year, the Mavericks secured a 52-30 record and returned to the Western Conference Finals for the first time since 2011, when Kidd was the team’s starting point guard.
Ahead of the 2022 draft, Houston flipped Wood to the Mavericks. In return, the Rockets received several veteran role players, but the highlight of the deal was Dallas’ No. 26 first-round draft pick, which Houston then traded to the Timberwolves in exchange for the No. 29 pick and two future second-rounders.
There’s more out of the Lone Star State:
- Though Suns power forward Jae Crowder appears to be headed for a divorce with Phoenix, the Mavericks are not interested in trading for the veteran stretch four, tweets John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Phoenix. Crowder served as the starting power forward for consecutive Finals teams from 2020-21, first with the Heat and then for Phoenix. In 67 contests last season, the 6’6″ vet averaged 9.4 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 1.9 APG and 1.4 SPG, while connecting on 34.8% of his 5.4 triples a night and 78.9% of his 1.3 looks at the charity stripe.
- Spurs power forward Zach Collins, kicking off a new NBA season healthy at last, is excited to show what he can do this year in San Antonio, per Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News (Twitter link). “I don’t think you guys have seen the best of me yet,” Collins said. “Definitely the best I’ve felt physically in my career.” The 6’11” big man missed most of the 2021/22 season while recovering from an ankle injury. In 28 games, he averaged 7.8 PPG and 5.5 RPG on .490/.341/.800 shooting splits.
- Second-year Rockets shooting guard Jalen Green, the No. 2 pick in the 2021 draft out of the G League Ignite, is a devout workaholic, according to his trainer Mike Hill. Kelly Iko of The Athletic spoke with Hill about how Green approached the second half of his rookie season and his preparations for 2022/23. Among other areas, the duo worked on improving Green’s strength, ball handling, and pick-and-roll abilities.