The Dallas Mavericks 2022-23 season is one filled with great expectations. After making an unexpected run to the Western Conference Finals last season, the Mavs players will be hoping to reach even greater heights this upcoming season.
At the center of their desires to improve this upcoming season is star guard Luka Doncic. Doncic has proven to be one of the best young stars in the NBA, and he has improved with each season he has played so far in the league. As he continues to play, Doncic should only continue to improve.
Last season proved that Doncic is going to need help, though. That’s why the Mavs went out this offseason and got him a new running mate at center to help him out on his quest to win. Let’s take a look at who that player is and why he could end up shocking the NBA world this upcoming season.
Mavs player who could shock the world next season: Christian Wood
One of the first moves made this offseason involved the Dallas Mavericks swinging a trade with the Houston Rockets for Christian Wood. Considering everything else that has happened throughout the offseason, it’s been somewhat forgotten. Even though it may not have been the flashiest move made this offseason, it could end up being one of the biggest looking back on this offseason.
Wood broke out during his two season stint with the Rockets, emerging as a very solid all-around player. Wood can score, he can rebound, and he can play strong interior defense. In terms of NBA big men, Wood is among the most underrated in the league.
Part of the problem is that Wood spent the past two seasons playing for a barren Rockets team. Wood will go from one of the worst teams in the NBA to one of the best, and that should help him take his game to another level. Playing alongside Doncic should make Wood’s life ten times easier.
For starters, Wood is no longer the focal point of his team’s offense. That wasn’t always the case during his time with the Rockets, especially considering their desire to get their younger players involved, but it’s clear that when he was on the court, he was their best player. With Doncic now on his team, that shouldn’t be the case.
The Mavs tried to build their team around Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis, but Porzingis never looked comfortable in Dallas’ offense, and was promptly shipped off to the Washington Wizards at the 2022 NBA trade deadline. That actually helped the Mavs improve, as they made a deep playoff run with Maxi Kleber and Dwight Powell rotating at center.
Wood will step in and give Dallas a better fit at center for Doncic to work with. Wood can score both in the paint and behind the three-point line, which could make him and Doncic one of the most lethal pick-and-roll combinations in the entire NBA. Both Doncic and Wood are skilled all-around offensive players, and that will give the Mavs a lot of options to work with this upcoming season.
Wood isn’t the greatest defender in the world, but his defensive game figures to improve given the fact he’s joining one of the best defensive units in the league too. Wood showed some improvements to his defensive versatility throughout last season, but he should excel anchoring the backline of the Mavs defense.
This could result in Wood having quite the breakout season in Dallas. After earning himself a starting role with the Detroit Pistons, Wood showed he meant business with the Rockets. Now that he’s on a competent team in the Mavs, Wood looks poised to take that next step forward.
Playing with Doncic could be the key. The Mavs are going to need to replace the production they lost when Jalen Brunson signed with the New York Knicks, and Wood seems like the perfect fit alongside Doncic. Whereas Brunson was trying to find his own looks, Wood will typically be on the receiving end of Doncic’s passes. His fit as a secondary scorer is much more natural than Brunson’s was.
Wood is going to fill the role that the Mavs were hoping Porzingis could fill during his stint with the team. Porzingis simply could never be consistent enough to be relied upon, and he and Doncic could never get on the same wavelength. Dallas is going to have to hope that Wood can do what Porzingis couldn’t.
If he can, Wood could be one of the surprise breakout stars of the 2022-23 season. He’s the perfect fit to play alongside Doncic, and his game should only improve now that he’s playing on a playoff contender. Dallas struggled to find a secondary scorer behind Doncic for much of the postseason, and they may have finally found it in Christian Wood this offseason.