The Dallas Mavericks should invest in the duo of Luka Dončić and Christian Wood


When Christian Wood was traded to the Dallas Mavericks from the Houston Rockets, many hoped that he would be the power forward the team desperately needed. What we couldn’t foresee was the incredible duo that Christian Wood and Luka Dončić make and how impactful it would be for this team. 

Wood became the first Mavs player in franchise history to score at least 25 points in their first two games. This alone was a great indicator of what he brought to the Mavs and was the beginning of his case to be in the starting lineup with Dončić. The lineup adjustments have allowed Dončić and Wood to build chemistry on the court and the stats reflect the strength of this duo as well, they currently averaging a combined 51.8 points per game.

As many know, the Dallas Mavericks are 0-6 when they are playing without Dončić. The Mavs are also 5-6 when they are playing without Wood. This comparison of records gives insight to the impact they have on the team as individuals but also together. When looking at their style of play together, it is not surprising that they have mastered the pick and roll. Wood has an incredibly high basketball IQ in general but especially when it comes to screens. He is good at making the decision to roll to the basket, pop to the three-point line, or roll and then reposition afterwards. The combination of having a talented passer with excellent court vision in Dončić and high basketball IQ for screens and spacing in Wood, is the match that fans have envisioned for so long.

In addition to this Wood is always ready for the passes in the paint that Dončić throws his way. Wood’s ability to not let a perfect pass go to waste is another reason this combination works so well together. Wood also has the ability to be a facilitator on the court for Dončić, as he has shown the ability to create and make plays by handling the ball. Dončić is often in the facilitation or primary scoring role so he doesn’t get the opportunity to be set up for passes as often. The facilitation capabilities Wood has, have opened up another portion of Dončić’s game when they are on the court together. In fact, Dončić even became the first player since Michael Jordan (1986) aged 23 or younger to average 40 or more points over a 10 game period. 

These two players also show a great appreciation for each other off the court and in post game interviews. When Dončić was asked about his connection with Wood he said, “He listens to me, I listen to him, it’s working great.” After being asked to describe it, Wood said, “We just go together like ice cream and fudge.” The mutual respect and level of communication is going to help them to continue their success on the court. As a starter, Wood averages 20.4 points per game (PPG), 9.4 rebounds per game (RPG), 2.3 blocks per game (BPG) on 51.7 FG% shooting. While Dončić is having a career year overall averaging 33.4 PPG, 8.9 RPG, 8.2 assists per game (APG), 1.5 steals per game (SPG) on 50.4 FG% shooting.

Below is a comparison of former number two options that Luka had been paired with from a numbers standpoint, to Christian Wood. This includes Jalen Brunson, Kristaps Porziņģis and Harrison Barnes.

Christian Wood

18.4 PPG 53.5 FG% 8.4 RPG 1.7 APG (2022 – 2023)

Jalen Brunson 

16.3 PPG 50.2 FG% 3.9 RPG 4.8 APG (2021-2022)

When it comes to Jalen Brunson’s pairing with Luka the main thing that stands out from others is his ability to be a true second ball handler. This allowed Dončić to play off the ball more as well as take occasional breaks. Brunson’s 4.8 assists displays his ability to act as a facilitator on the floor and create opportunities while still being able to go to the basket himself when needed. The combination of the two on the court created two dominant threats for defenses to be aware of at all times.

Kristaps Porziņģis

19.2 PPG 45.1 FG% 7.7 RPG 2.0 APG (2021 – 2022)

20.1 PPG 47.6 FG% 8.9 RPG 1.6 APG (2020 – 2021)

20.4 PPG 42.7 FG% 9.5 RPG 1.8 APG (2019 – 2020)

Despite Porziņģis and Dončić having a lot of potential they really struggled as a duo. Porziņģis often wasn’t on the same page as Dončić leading to many frustrations. Usually each could have good individual performances but it was rare to see them working well with each other. A major factor here is they struggled to build the necessary chemistry as Porziņģis was riddled with injuries during his time with the Mavs. Porziņģis even said recently, “On paper, it would be the perfect fit, but it just didn’t mesh the way that we wanted to.”

Harrison Barnes 

17.7 PPG 40.4 FG% 4.2 RPG 1.3 APG (2018 – 2019)

Barnes and Dončić only got to play 47 games together in this 2018-19 season before Barnes was traded to the Sacramento Kings for the remaining portion of the season. Based on this limited amount of time together, these two played well together as Barnes is an all around reliable player who has great experience from being on the Golden State Warriors. He transitioned into relying on Dončić more in this role to score but this fit both of their strengths better. This duo is one of the bigger question marks in recent Mavs history, had it been given more time to develop. 

When looking at the duo individually, it is easy to see the chemistry both on and off the court between Dončić and Wood. Widening the lens in comparison to previous pairings, you can see how so far they are yielding some of the better results. Clearly the two make a great combo and having them in the starting lineup together can help propel this team for the remainder of the season.

The duo of Luka Dončić and Christian Wood is the building block the Dallas Mavericks need to invest in as we have seen what great duos, across the league, have historically been able to achieve.

Categories: 2022-23 Season, Mavs Fans For Life

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