A consensus top-50 recruit in high school, Christian Wood's freshman season was mostly a learning process. Averaging just 4.5 points and 3.2 rebounds in 13 minutes per game, the lanky forward contributed in spurts for a UNLV program that went a disappointing 10-8 in the Mountain West Conference, flashing intriguing potential in the process.
Wood's upside at the next level starts with his tremendous size and length for a power forward. Currently listed at 6'11 with a 220-pound frame, Woods is a lanky power forward with impressive mobility who needs to continue adding strength to his excellent frame. Having gained some-20 pounds over the last two years, Woods is never likely to become a bruiser, but his ability to hold his own on the block is something scouts will be keeping an eye on as he matures.
Skill-wise, Wood has some tantalizing tools, but is still in the early stages of learning how to use them consistently. Using only 5.7% of UNLV's possessions last season according to Synergy Sports Technology and scoring 13.7 points per-40 minutes pace adjusted, the Findlay Prep (NV) product played a fairly minor role for the Runnin' Rebel's offensively, but enjoyed a fair amount of freedom, for better or worse.
Almost half of Wood's field goal attempts a year ago were 3-pointers, as he tends to float on the perimeter quite a bit for a near 7-footer. Knocking down just 17.4% of his jump shots on the year, Wood has some promise as a shooter and flashed the ability to put the ball on the floor and beat slower big men off the dribble, but is still a ways off from being an efficient, viable threat from the perimeter.
Wood's tendency to float out on the perimeter took away from his ability to use his size and athleticism around the rim. He's most effective at this stage as a finisher at the rim either on the break or in the half court, as his sheer length and leaping ability allow him to play above the rim effortlessly. His size and touch also translated into some amount of success in the post, where he shot 42.9%. His lack of strength and polish on the block was obvious at times, and on the whole, it will be interesting to see how Wood develops on the offensive end in the coming years.
As much as Wood's feel for the game offensively is an obvious work in progress amid flashes of promise, the same holds true defensively. Blocking an impressive 3 shots per-40 minutes pace adjusted, Wood is still learning how to make his presence felt consistently on the defensive end, but his wingspan ad quick leaping ability allow him to make an impact as a rim protector. Playing with a solid motor, Wood isn't afraid to be physical—in contrast to his tendency to drift away offensively—pulling down rebounds at this end of the floor at a nice clip. Though Wood still needs to get stronger and struggles not to foul at times, his length and lateral quickness gives him intriguing long-term potential on this end of the floor.
Far from a finished product at this stage, it isn't difficult to see what recruiting analysts saw in Wood, even in limited minutes as a freshman. His physical tools, coupled with his budding skill set make him a player worth monitoring in years to come to see if he can reach his lofty potential. [Read Full Article]