Los Angeles Lakers superstar Anthony Davis cemented himself as one of the league’s premier players after his incredible postseason run. While Giannis Antetokounmpo took home the MVP and Defensive Player of the Year Awards, it was Davis who proved himself to be a true superstar when it matters most.
Another — less well-known — player who took a big leap in the 2019-20 season was former Detroit Pistons and current Houston Rockets big man Christian Wood. He is entering his fifth NBA season after going undrafted in 2015, but finally broke through at the beginning of 2020.
Wood averaged 13.1 points and 6.3 rebounds on 56.7% from the field with the Pistons. Rockets guard Eric Gordon spoke about Wood’s impact on the team after a preseason win, describing him as similar to Davis in his style of play, according to Tim MacMahon on ESPN:
Eric Gordon says a mouthful after Christian Wood put up 27 points and 10 rebounds in his Rockets preseason debut: "He's similar to like an Anthony Davis."
Gordon was referring to Wood's ability to shoot and play above the rim as a big.
— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) December 18, 2020
While Wood is certainly not on the level of Davis or even particularly close, he does provide a lot of the same skills as the All-NBA big man. Wood can make his presence known in the paint with rebounding and scoring, but can also pull back and hit jumpers when he needs to.
Perhaps the most interesting part about the comparison is the fact that the Rockets’ inability to stop Davis is what led to their early exit from the playoffs last season.
The Rockets went all in on “micro-ball,” hoping that PJ Tucker and Robert Covington would be enough to slow down guys like Davis. That experiment failed miserably, and Wood was the perfect pick up for the Rockets to transition back to a normal NBA roster.
Davis felt great in preseason debut
Although he and LeBron James did look slightly rusty, they still managed to make an impact in very limited minutes in their first preseason appearance on Wednesday. Davis spoke about his performance, saying he felt even better than expected.
“I felt great, honestly,” Davis said. “Coming in I thought I was going to be a little winded. You can try to get in shape all you want but it’s nothing like basketball and game shape. I was kind of hesitant about that, but I felt fine.”
Davis followed that up with 35 points to help the Lakers notch a comeback win and finish 4-0 in the preseason.
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