New Dallas Mavericks center Christian Wood is “counting his blessings” about the trade that sent him from the Houston Rockets to Dallas in June.
On Thursday, the new Maverick showed up at the Mavs Academy Hoop Camp, surprising a group of excited children.
Wood gave his first on-camera interview since the trade while at the camp, talking about his goals for the upcoming season.
“I’m still counting my blessings and happy to be here,” Wood said. “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.”
.@Chriswood_5 is for the kids 🤞
— Dallas Mavericks (@dallasmavs) August 5, 2022
Last season, the Mavericks reached the Western Conference Finals for the first time in 11 years but were eliminated in a 4-1 series loss to the eventual NBA champion Golden State Warriors.
Throughout Dallas’ playoff run, production from the starting center position was a glaring weakness.
The team hopes it sufficiently addressed the center position this offseason with the trade for Wood and by signing fellow center Javale McGee in free agency.
With the Rockets last season, the 6’9” Wood averaged 17.9 points, 10.1 rebounds, and 2.3 assists per game while shooting 50.1% from the field, including 36% from three-point range.
Wood’s numbers highlight his versatility as he can shoot from mid-range and deep, attack off the catch, is a lob threat on rim rolls, and is a scoring threat in isolation and post-ups.
On July 15, Dallas sent Trey Burke, Sterling Brown, Marquese Chriss, Boban Marjanovic, and the No. 26 pick in the NBA Draft to the Rockets in exchange for Wood. The Mavericks were still able to trade back into the second round of the draft to select Jaden Hardy at pick No. 37, a player they reportedly had ranked as the 19th best prospect in the draft.
Essentially, Dallas acquired Wood for four players on expiring contracts who rarely got playing time.
NBA analysts have lauded the trade as a major steal for the Mavericks.
“Christian Wood fills all the things Dallas was missing in the postseason – a big man who can spread the floor and score – if he’s in the right frame of mind,” writes ESPN‘s Ohm Youngmisuk. “He should be able to give Luka Doncic much needed help, and JaVale McGee will give them some much-needed rim protection.”
Wood has been hard at work this offseason since arriving in Dallas to be prepared for the new challenge.
“I’m tired,” Wood said with a laugh. “I’ve been in the gym and pushing myself to exhaustion this whole time I’ve been here.”
But on Thursday, Wood was not just thinking about his basketball ambitions but also about the kids he got to work out with in Plano.
“I was once that little kid that would look up to NBA players and hope that he would sign my shoe or hope that I would be able to meet him in person,” he said. “With kids, I can be myself and I can be a kid myself. So, it’s fun.”
While Wood hopes to make a good impression on Mavericks fans in the coming season, Dallas is already making a strong impression on him.
“I love the city — it’s a little bit calmer than Houston, thank God,” Wood remarked. “I’ve tried a few food spots out here, and the food is great. But I’m still trying to find my way around.”