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NBA Daily: Christian Wood’s Path Back to the NBA

Christian Wood has been on an NBA journey since 2015, and there’s no quit in the young forward.

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There was a time when Christian Wood was leading the legendary Findlay Prep in Henderson, Nevada to the number one spot in the country among high school basketball teams. After a solid sophomore year at UNLV, he was expected to be drafted in the late first round of the 2015 NBA Draft.

That never happened, and a picture of him with his head in his hands on draft night after not hearing his name called went viral.

He’s since gotten a little taste of the NBA. He’s had a couple of stints with the Philadelphia 76ers and he spent a year with the Charlotte Hornets. He’s no stranger to summer league, having previously played with the Sixers, Houston Rockets and Phoenix Suns.

This summer, he’s suiting up for the Milwaukee Bucks in Las Vegas in hopes of finding another shot at the NBA.

“I can do multiple efforts on defense and offense, helping the team compete,” Wood said. “This is my second time doing this so I’m kind of used to it. I’m helping the younger guys out and just coming out and competing.”

He’s already made people take notice this past weekend as summer league play officially got underway in Las Vegas. In the Bucks first game, a win over the Detroit Pistons, Wood led them with 23 points, 11 rebounds and four blocked shots.

While his numbers definitely stand out from a statistical point of view, it’s a lot of the little things that don’t show up in a box score that Wood knows is what’s going to catch the eye of NBA teams.

“Block shots, diving on the floor for loose balls, helping your teammates out, rebounding the ball, just doing all that,” Wood said.

While he has some NBA experience under his belt already, more than most hopefuls at summer league, it’s been a couple of other experiences that have helped Wood prepare for the NBA.

He’s done multiple stints in the G-League, including most recently last season with the Delaware 87ers who are now the Delaware Blue Coats. He’s also spent time with the Greensboro Swarm. Most of his time though has been with Delaware and the Sixers personnel.

“It’s definitely a learning experience. I definitely got better down there every day, especially with Philadelphia helping me out. It’s been going good for me,” Wood said.

He also had a brief stint last season in China with the Fujian Sturgeons of the CBA. Although he never actually suited up for the team, there were some parts of the Chinese game he observed that he believes will help him make it back to the NBA.

“It helped a lot, it’s a lot of physicality over there. It’ a good transition coming over here,” Wood said.

And as summer league continues, Wood is going to keep concentrating on the small things that aren’t going to show up in a box score but are evident to the trained eye. There is a tendency for NBA hopefuls to try and show off their scoring prowess to garner a look from NBA personnel. But Wood knows that’s not going to cut it.

“That’s competing, making multiple efforts on both sides of the floor, that’s really what you got to do,” Wood said. “Everybody’s going to come in here and try and score and try and do their own thing but scouts and teams aren’t looking at that. They’re looking for the little things, that’s what I’m trying to do.”

In 2015, he began a journey. And today, Wood is wiser and more determined than ever.

David Yapkowitz has been a staff writer for Basketball Insiders since 2017. Based in Los Angeles, he focuses on the Pacific Division as well as the NBA at large.

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