One of the biggest struggles for the Los Angeles Lakers early on this season has been clearing out the defensive glass. Too often, the Lakers have been killed with second chance points, which is disappointing considering Anthony Davis is on the floor most of the time.
The star big man has done his part on the glass and remains arguably the best defensive player on the planet, but he needs some support and that is where Christian Wood comes in. While known primarily as an offensive player, Wood has shown himself to be a good rebounder and even provide some rim protection at times throughout his career.
While it’s still early in the season, Wood is already figuring out his role on the defensive end next to Davis and is trying to improve.
“He’s gonna always go for the block,” Wood said about Davis. “So I have to be that guy that’s gonna be the secondary guy to come help rebound or try and get the secondary block if he can’t get the rebound off blocking that shot. So that’s just me figuring him out and knowing how to play with him.”
The big man pairing of Wood and Davis has so much potential on both ends of the court. Obviously Wood’s ability to space the floor allows Davis to have more room to operate in the block on offense, but if they can figure things out on the other end, it takes the Lakers to another level.
Davis is one of the best rim protectors in the league and does often get pulled away from the basket or leaves the rim in an attempt to block or alter a shot. But this often leads to his man being free to gather the rebound for an easy bucket. Wood understands this is an area he can make a difference in with his size.
There was a glimpse of that in the Lakers’ win over the Orlando Magic as Wood grabbed nine rebounds and blocked three shots to go along with nine points. It is still early in the season and there’s plenty of time to come together, but Wood will soon figure out how to best fit in next to the star big man.
Lakers’ Anthony Davis praises Christian Wood for defensive effort
In addition to his efforts against the Magic, Wood also showed his commitment to defense in the Lakers’ first win of the year against the Phoenix Suns. Wood took on the challenge of defending Kevin Durant at times in the win, and avis praised his effort.
“C-Wood did a great job, being physical with him. Making him take tough shots. … So you know, he came to us and said he wanted to take the heat at the end then we just start going into different schemes that we run.”
Wood is showing that he is a two-way player and is making the Lakers look great in taking that chance on him this season.
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