Is Wood the Right Choice for Detroit’s Final Roster Spot?


With just one week left until the regular season tips off, final roster decision are being made.  Surprisingly, the Pistons have a tough decision on the last spot to make.  While there was some excitement around his signing due to his late season surge in New Orleans, no one could have expected Christian Wood claiming the hearts of everyone involved with Pistons Twitter.  Social media should not be the driving force to make a roster move for obvious reasons, but the plea for Christian Wood exists nonetheless.  That being said, let’s look at the case Wood has laid out for the front office and what moves they could make to accommodate such as choice.

The Case for Wood

Coming into the offseason, one of the bigger holes on the roster that needed to be addressed was backup center.  Zaza Pachulia retired, and some more cynical fans will tell you it looked like he retired before last season.  Thon Maker was ostensibly the only backup on the roster but has played more successfully as a reserve power forward.  Currently, Wood is the only actual backup center on the roster, which should be case enough for his slot.


If positional necessity was not convincing enough, Wood’s play in the preseason should silence any doubts.  To be quite honest, Wood has been a revelation in an otherwise underwhelming five games.  This was foreshadowed in his end of the season run for New Orleans last year, where he posted averages of 16.8 points, 7.9 rebounds and 1.3 blocks over 23.6 minutes per game.  In the preseason, he is averaging 13.2 points, 7.2 rebounds in 17 minutes.  If you remove a down game where he only played 9 minutes from the equation, those averages bump up to 15.25 points, 7.25 rebounds in 19 minutes.  Even beyond the raw number he looks more comfortable with his reserve teammates than should be expected after just the preseason.

Wood has established chemistry with Derrick Rose already, which is likely the point guard Wood would play with most in a “bench mob” situation.  He has a feel for the game in the pick and roll that is rivaled only by Andre Drummond on this team, which fits the play style of this team perfectly.  He has outclassed Thon Maker and Marcus Morris in his role overall so far.

The Options

If Wood is to make the team on a non-guaranteed contract, someone else will have to go.  The only other non-guarantee on the roster is Joe Johnson.  The coaching staff indicates strongly they like him as a veteran presence, especially to mentor Sekou Doumbouya.  Cutting a guaranteed contract for a team so close to the luxury tax seems like a bad choice, so hoping for an October trade seems to be the likely choice.

Looking to be the odd-man out on the roster, Khyri Thomas could see his time with the Pistons ending soon.  Thomas only played five minutes against the Sixers after getting a DNP-CD against the Cavs.  Thirteen total minutes in the preseason so far is not exactly a vote of confidence for the second-year guard.  This looks even worse after he struggled to win the coaching staff’s confidence last season.  Pairing his salary alongside Thon Maker to bring back a single player is an option.  Maker finds himself in a similar position with the emergence of Wood.  This creates the appropriate roster space and allows the Pistons to take a swing on a prospect.  One example is Frank Ntilikina who the Pistons were connected to earlier this week.

Joe Johnson is likely safe and Wood is making his case stronger by the day.  Therefore, Maker and Thomas are the likely candidates to see themselves in another city when the season starts next week.  It would be unfortunate to give up on their potential so early in their career.  However, the potential of Wood seems to be rising higher every game.

The Final Plea for Christian Wood

The preseason has ended and the tip off to the season right around the corner.  Detroit will decide on their final roster spot soon.  Christian Wood looked to be a long shot to make the roster after the signing of Joe Johnson.  He needed to use the preseason to make his case.  He has done that and now the fans are demanding he make the team.  The plea for Christian Wood has become the preseason battle cry of Pistons Twitter.  If he fails to make the team, there will be an outcry.  Wood has done everything in the preseason to endear himself to the Motor City.  Let’s hope it was enough.


About Corey Rausch

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