There are a number of different routes that Rob Pelinka could follow to fill the 14th (and presumably final for now) roster spot for the Los Angeles Lakers. While each of those routes assumably leads to them using this spot to add a big body, there are a number of interesting options with varying skill sets.
Bismack Biyombo is an energizer bunny that shows no trepidation in the paint, regardless of his counterpart. Even Colin Castleton, who is currently signed with the Lakers on a two-way deal, showcased enough versatility to build a case for his contract to be converted to a standard one.
The list goes on and on when it comes to potential targets for the front office to aim for to polish off this roster renovation.
And while his individual contributions have never quite seemed to translate to wins, Christian Wood stands alone as the one free agent big that could truly elevate this team to the cusp of invincibility.
At 6’9″ and 214 pounds, Wood is more of a 4 than a 5. On a roster already housing Anthony Davis and Jaxson Hayes, they would not need Wood to soak up a ton of minutes at the 5.
On the defensive end, he has his limitations. He is equipped with the physical tools to hold his own against opposing scorers, but he tends to fall asleep at times on defense. Sometimes it can even look as if he is bored while defending. On a roster already housing Anthony Davis and Jaxson Hayes (and to a lesser extent LeBron James and Rui Hachimura), it is not as if he would be tasked with much low-post wrestling.
Sprinkle in the one-man defensive wrecking crew that is Jarred Vanderbilt, some solid defensive IQ from Austin Reaves, and whatever energy you can get on that end from Gabe Vincent, Max Christie, Cam Reddish, and Taurean Prince (and to a lesser extent JHS), and you have the makings of a potential defensive juggernaut. We already know that defense is a religion to Darvin Ham, and the current roster is already built to get stops.
So, if Christian Wood is on board with coming to the limelight of LA for a 1 year “prove your worth” deal, there is absolutely no other candidate more worthy of this team’s final roster spot. Yes, you can never have too much defense. However, shooting is now arguably the hottest and most necessary commodity in basketball. So if you already have a solid defense, then you can never have too much shooting on top of that.
The current 13-man roster should have enough zip on defense to mask any potential errors that may arise a la Wood. So, his 37.9% career 3-point percentage would be something of a cherry on top.
And the thought of those AD-Wood frontcourt minutes is beautiful. The combined length and versatility that each share would seem to make them a perfect fit. Loop in LeBron, and once again Wood would seem to be a perfect court mate. He can certainly put the ball in the bucket in a multitude of fashions, but his ability to space the floor at his size is what makes him special.
If the rest of the NBA somehow allows Rob Pelinka to add this type of pick-and-pop threat to the Lakers, they will rue the day that the pen hits that paper. Think about the type of roster versatility the following depth chart could have:
Lakers depth chart with Christian Wood:
- PG | D’Angelo Russell
- SG | Austin Reaves
- SF | Jarred Vanderbilt
- PF | LeBron James
- C | Anthony Davis
- PG | Gabe Vincent
- SG | Max Christie
- SF | Cam Reddish
- PF | Rui Hachimura
- C | Christian Wood
- PG | Jalen Hood-Schifino
- SG | Maxwell Lewis
- SF | Taurean Prince
- C | Jaxson Hayes
There are not a lot of glaring holes that come to mind when you look at that roster composition from top to bottom. Need superstars? We present you with LeBron and AD. Need secondary playmakers/scorers? We present you with D’Angelo Russell, Austin Reaves, Gabe Vincent, Rui Hachimura, and Christian Wood. Need shooters? We present you with D’Lo, Reaves, Vincent, Max Christie, Christian Wood, and Taurean Prince. Need defenders? We present you with Reaves, Vando, AD, Vincent, Christie, Cam Reddish, JHS, and Prince. Need rebounders? We present you with Vando, LeBron, AD, Rui, Christian Wood, and Jaxson Hayes.
Assuredly there would be bumps in the road, but from this perspective, this team would be a problem for the rest of the league. If the Lakers can convince Wood to come to LA and show the world that he is legit, there are scary hours ahead for 29 professional basketball organizations and fanbases.