Christian Wood has established himself as an NBA player as he is now in his seventh season and playing out the final year of a three-year, $41 million contract. The Dallas Mavericks center wasn't always a sure thing, however, as Wood, who had been projected to be selected late in the first round or early in the second round, went undrafted in the 2015 NBA Draft.
Although Wood's night was already tough, his girlfriend at the time used it as an opportunity to kick him while he was already down. Rather than being supportive and sticking by him, Wood revealed that he dropped her off at the airport later that night only to never see her again. It is likely that she regrets that decision, however, as Wood will have made over $45 in career earnings upon the conclusion of the season. Furthermore, he will likely receive an even larger contract upon entering free agency.
Check out Christian Wood's reaction to going undrafted below:
Christian Wood's journey from G League to Dallas Mavericks
After going undrafted, Christian Wood spent the next four seasons bouncing back and forth between the G League and the NBA. Wood played just 51 NBA games over that span, with zero played in the 2017-2018 season, while playing 123 G League games.
Over that span, he averaged 22.6 points per game, 10.9 rebounds per game, 1.7 assists per game, 1.0 steals per game, and 1.8 blocks per game. Additionally, he shot 53.9% from the field. In his final G League season, Wood averaged 29.3 points per game, 14.1 rebounds per game, 2.4 assists per game, 1.1 steals per game, and 2.2 blocks per game while shooting 55.9% from the field.
Despite dominating in the G League and previously spending time with the Philadelphia 76ers, Milwaukee Bucks, and Charlotte Hornets, Wood had not yet established himself as an NBA talent. It wasn't until an eight-game stint with the New Orleans Pelicans towards the end of the 2018-2019 NBA season that he was able to display his skills.
During that stretch, Wood averaged 16.9 points per game, 7.9 rebounds per game, and 1.3 blocks per game while shooting 53.3% from the field in just 23.6 minutes per game. After spending the following season with the Detroit Pistons, the Houston Rockets rewarded Wood with a three-year, $41 million contract.
Wood shined with the Rockets, averaging 19.1 points per game and 9.9 rebounds per game while shooting 50.7% from the field and 38.4% from three-point range. His play even drew praise from NBA Hall of Famer Shaquille O'Neal in a meme-inspiring moment.
Prior to the 2022-2023 NBA season, Wood was shipped to the Dallas Mavericks. While he has returned to a bench role after starting 108 out of 109 games with the Rockets, Wood has thrived in his new home. He is currently averaging 17.3 points per game and 7.8 rebounds per game in just 25.3 minutes per game. Additionally, he is shooting 58.5% from the field and 44.7% from three-point range, both of which will be new-career highs if they hold up.
Check out Shaquille O'Neal's meme-inspiring interaction with Christian Wood below: