Christian Wood‘s time with the Milwaukee Bucks came to an untimely end Monday morning and with that, his pursuit of getting his shot in the NBA will have to come to fruition elsewhere.
With a highly anticipated playoff run coming closer on the horizon, a rash of injuries, forced the Milwaukee Bucks’ hand in making their latest roster move Monday morning.
It was Christian Wood who became the latest roster casualty as the team waived the 23-year-old to open a roster spot that will be used to bring in journeyman guard Tim Frazier to help hold over the team’s backcourt depth for the remainder of the season and into the postseason.
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Even considering the context and reasoning behind the move, it’s yet another unfortunate break for Wood as he continues his odyssey of finding a place in the NBA to showcase his promising array of talents.
The former Runnin’ Rebel endeared himself to all Bucks fans with his standout showing during his appearance with the Bucks’ Summer League squad in Las Vegas last summer.
From there, Wood parlayed that into locking down a partially guaranteed deal for the team’s training camp a month after Summer League wrapped up, to then making the Bucks’ 15-man roster once their preseason finished up just before the start of the regular season.
With the many questions the Bucks had regarding their center depth entering the season, taking a flyer on a promising, undrafted underdog, who built quite the résumé when down in the G League over the previous few seasons, seemed like an intriguing way to fill out the final spot on their roster.
Although questions regarding his motor and intangibles followed him into joining the Bucks, Wood’ work ethic and grinding in wanting his shot became a fixture in his stint in Milwaukee, which certainly endeared him to the team’s incredibly driven face of the franchise, Giannis Antetokounmpo.
But the combination of the Bucks’ overwhelming success and the continued tinkering of their roster and more specifically, their frontcourt depth chart, as the season unfolded left Wood waiting for his chance to get regular minutes on the NBA stage (Wood finished with just 61 minutes in 13 appearances with the Bucks this year).
Instead, Wood found himself in familiar territory by logging many trips to the Bucks’ G League affiliate, the Wisconsin Herd. Through all of his assignments in Oshkosh and on the Herd’s road trips, Wood’s dominance of the G League took up much of the spotlight thanks to his nightly gaudy stat lines. In his 28 appearances with the Herd this season, Wood averaged 29.3 points on shooting splits of .559/.265/.756, 14 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 2.2 blocks in 35.3 minutes per game.
The sheer force that Wood has continually shown himself to be individually in the G League throughout his professional career would naturally lead one to believe that he’s deserving of his overdue shot of proving himself on basketball’s highest stage. Yet Wood’s wish continues to go ungranted throughout all of the NBA clubs he’s landed with, the Bucks being the most recent example.
We’ve yet to see whether a team around the league will pick up Wood and the remains of his very team-friendly deal before he clears waivers. But there’s something just so inherently relatable about Wood’s story and his longstanding desire of not just making it in the NBA, but staying on that level.
Not getting what he surely believes is his due after toiling away in the G League will only push someone in Wood’s position even harder in his quest to achieve his dream and prove all of his perceived naysayers wrong.
At the same time, it also brings up the question of where does one go next when a player like Wood has seemingly mastered a competitive level like the G League, but the logical next step of proving yourself in the big leagues fails to materialize time and time again.
It’s all a tricky subject to parse through as the use of the G League continues to be honed over time and Wood is not the first, nor will he be the last, player that goes through this kind of basketball purgatory in an effort to keep his dream of playing in the NBA alive.
Regardless of the outcome, Wood will surely have the people of Milwaukee, who saw the amount of work he put into making his dream a reality, continue to champion him as he continues his journey elsewhere.