Prior to the NBA’s decision to suspend operations in March due to the emerging coronavirus pandemic, Detroit Pistons big man Christian Wood was emerging as a breakout star. But with the Pistons among the eight teams eliminated from the resumption of the 2019-20 season later this month, a recent report suggested that he might choose to play elsewhere once he enters free agency in the offseason, with the Golden State Warriors among the top candidates for his services.
As explained on Monday by Bleacher Report, Wood might be one of the more interesting free-agent big men in the 2020 offseason, considering how he had just recently started putting up big numbers, as compared to proven veterans such as Hassan Whiteside of the Portland Trail Blazers and Paul Millsap of the Denver Nuggets. Wood, who entered the NBA as an undrafted rookie, averaged 24.2 points, 9.8 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks per game in the last 10 games of the Pistons’ season but had shown flashes of brilliance beforehand, occasionally posting double-doubles even when Drummond was still in Detroit.
Although a number of rival teams might show interest in Wood during this year’s free-agency period, Bleacher Report singled out the Warriors as a “dark-horse contender” to sign the former UNLV star, given their lack of frontcourt depth. The outlet added that the 24-year-old might provide Golden State with a nice combination of strong inside play and solid outside shooting at the power forward position as the team potentially returns to championship contention after a disappointing 2019-20 campaign.
“If there is a bidding war for his services, then Wood could be too expensive for the Warriors (they could also look for frontcourt help in the draft). If the price is right, then Golden State could be a good spot for Wood to capitalize on his talent.”
As shown on his Basketball-Reference player page, Wood averaged 13.1 points, 6.3 rebounds, and one assist in 21.4 minutes per game for the Pistons in 2019-20, with 12 starts in 62 games. He was also very effective from the floor in his mostly off-the-bench role, shooting 56.7 percent from the field and 38.6 percent from three-point range.
Aside from Wood, a few other would-be free-agent big men have been linked to the Warriors in recent days. These include Millsap, who was mentioned by NBC Sports last week as someone the team could sign with its mid-level exception. Despite being 35 years old, the veteran power forward has been posting solid numbers for the Nuggets this season (12 points, 5.9 rebounds per game) while possessing a strong inside-outside game on offense.