Does Christian Wood make the Los Angeles Lakers a legit contender?

Christian Wood (Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports)
Christian Wood (Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports) /

Are the Los Angeles Lakers a legit contender in the Western Conference with Christian Wood? 

It’s amazing how the addition of one player can take a team from good to great, or from just making playoff appearances to competing for championships. The Los Angeles Lakers may have just acquired the piece they need in order to elevate them to that next level.

Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka executed one of the smartest moves of the offseason as he was able to sign Christian Wood to a two-year contract worth $5.8 million. The signing of Woods gives the Lakers a versatile chess piece who could either start or come off the bench, protect the paint, and give the Lakers insurance in the event Anthony Davis is injured.

The signing of Wood was crucial for the Lakers as they continue to add to their supporting cast which is the group who could have made a real difference in the playoffs. Now that Wood is on board, it gives them four legit rotational bigs who can come off the bench and relieve James or Davis.

The Los Angeles Lakers have a strong supporting cast

A solid group of Wood, Rui Hachimura Jarred Vanderbilt, and Jaxon Hayes should be able to get plenty of minutes as this will be a If this talented group can get their chemistry together they could perform at such a high level so James and Davis won’t have to exert themselves and wear themselves down fighting to even make the playoffs.

The idea is to keep the superstars well-rested and for the young players to get all of the necessary playing time and experience they need. Depending on the matchups, Lakers head coach Darvin Ham now has so many different options to choose from. If he wants to trot out a 3-point shooting lineup, he can do it. If he wants to send out a defensive lineup, he now has that luxury. There is so much flexibility within the roster that there are limitless matchup combinations.

In 67 games last season, Wood averaged 16.6 points per game, 7.3 rebounds per game along with 1.1 blocks per contest. A player of Wood’s caliber whose putting up those kinds of numbers deserved a bigger role on a better team. Wood will be entering his 10th season and he has never been to the playoffs but that could very well change for him this upcoming season.

This change of scenery and culture shift could truly bring the beast out of Wood. It appears as if Wood’s game is tailor-made for the Lakers system and one can only imagine the damage that could be done with Wood playing alongside Davis. As a skilled big man, he can shoot and attack the basket and also is a threat on both ends. Wood can be described as an oversized wing given his fluidity and size as one of the more athletic centers in the NBA.

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The signing of Wood makes the Lakers a real contender who is more than capable of winning the West as this should be an exciting team to watch given the expectations.