When the Dallas Mavericks traded for Christian Wood a week before the NBA Draft, it was obvious how much of an upgrade they were getting at the center position.
Last season with the Houston Rockets, Wood averaged 17.9 points, 10.1 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game while shooting 50.1 percent from the field, including 36 percent from deep. That kind of production, paired with the fact that he’s a versatile pick-and-roll/pick-and-pop player, has to have Luka Doncic licking his chops heading into the 2022-23 season.
On Thursday, Wood surprised a group of excited children by showing up to the Mavs Academy Hoop Camp. In his first on-camera interview since the trade, Wood expressed how happy he is to be in Dallas and what his goals are for the upcoming season.
“Happy to be here,” said Wood. “It’s a great opportunity for me, for this organization. Just trying to take that next step. I just want to win games. My main objective is trying to get to the finals.”
The Mavs got within three wins of reaching the NBA Finals last season, but they weren’t able to overcome the eventual champion Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference Finals. One of Dallas’ biggest weaknesses in last season’s playoff run was the production from the starting center position, and that weakness has been addressed with the additions of Wood and JaVale McGee.
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Whether those additions are enough to make up for the loss of Jalen Brunson to the New York Knicks in free agency has yet to be seen … and the Mavs could still make some moves in the coming months to address their playmaking needs. However, Wood is confident that his arrival can take the Mavs to the next level. For now, though, he’ll continue to familiarize himself with Dallas before the real action gets underway in training camp next month.
“Love the city. (It’s) a little bit calmer than Houston, thank God,” said Wood. “Had to try a few food spots out here. The food is great. So I’m still working my way around.”
You can follow Dalton Trigg on Twitter at @dalton_trigg
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