High sentiments may have interfered with what could have been a career year for Christian Wood in his second season with the Houston Rockets.
During media day in September, Christian Wood spoke for the first time ahead of the 2021-22 season.
Wood was excited on the heels of his second season with the Houston Rockets. As a journeyman who appeared on five different franchises in his first four seasons in the league, 2022 marked the first time Wood played for the same team for two consecutive years.
By achieving the goal of stability, Wood’s second campaign with the Rockets began on a promising note. He began the season averaging 20 points, 12.5 rebounds and a block through the first nine games.
Wood appeared to be well on his way to reaching All-Star status. It was an objective he spoke fondly of during media day after coming close the year prior. But more importantly, Wood’s top goal entering the season was to help the Rockets win more games.
But while the team sat at 1-8 at the start of the season, coach Stephen Silas made a few adjustments to the game plan with the intent of winning more games. The results ended in Wood not being featured as Houston’s primary core of the offense. The tenth game of the season witnessed the Rockets sustain a one-point defeat at the hands of the Denver Nuggets. And for the first time, there was a sense of disconnect between Wood and the franchise.
He notched a dozen points and 17 rebounds in the 95-94 loss to the Nuggets. After the game, Wood was vocal on how the Rockets’ offensive attack in Denver would have been better if he were more involved in the offense.
Wood demonstrated his frustration with a nonchalant performance against the Golden State Warriors the following night. He scored four points while attempting five shots in Houston’s 120-107 defeat to the Warriors inside the Chase Arena.
Wood would continue to show a wave of dominance and inconsistencies the rest of the season. The contrariety in his game resulted in Wood falling short of an All-Star appearance for the second consecutive year with the Rockets finishing the season with the league’s worst record.
“I’m just going to work. My main thing is to win. I am not focused on All-Star games or any individual goals I may have for myself. I feel like all individual accomplishments will come once we start winning. And that is the main thing I am focused on now.” — Wood in September.
Wood reclaimed his role from the previous season as the Rockets best player despite the discontentment showcased at times. When Wood was engaged on both ends of the court, the Rockets were a dangerous team.
During the Rockets’ seven-game win streak, Wood played arguably the best basketball of his career — averaging 18.3 points, 11.9 rebounds and 2 blocks. In the seven games where Wood scored 25 points or more, Houston notched a record of 4-3 and won by an average margin of 16.5 points.
Wood’s best game of the season took place during the Rockets’ 115-97 victory over the Washington Wizards in March. Wood was involved in a one-on-one battle with Kristaps Porzingis inside the Toyota Center. He ended the game with a career-high 39 points while connecting on eight out of his nine shot attempts from behind the arc.
Wood’s second-highest point total of the season took place on Nov. 27 in a three-point overtime victory against the Charlotte Hornets. He led the Rockets to a 146-143 home victory with 33 points on an efficient 71.4 percent shooting from deep.
When the Rockets played their final game of the season against the Atlanta Hawks on April 10, Wood’s future on the team became one of the biggest questions entering the off-season.
Wood has established himself as a vital piece to the Rockets’ rebuild over the previous two seasons. But as he enters the final year of his contract, it is unsure whether or not Wood has done enough to receive a long-term commitment from general manager Rafael Stone.
The lone accomplishment Wood achieved during the 2022 campaign was stability. But after watching the final seven games of the regular season from the sidelines, there is a significant chance Wood will be on the move before the start of the 2023 campaign in October.
Wood appeared in 68 games for the 20-62 Rockets. He averaged a team-high 17.8 points on 50.1 percent shooting from the field, 39.1 percent from behind the arc, to go along with 10.1 rebounds per game.