As Harden exits, Christian Wood vows to ‘make sure’ Rockets are ready to compete

Ben DuBose
·2 min read

With superstar guard James Harden away from the team and presumably likely to be traded, young center Christian Wood is suddenly the top scorer among active players on the Houston Rockets.

Despite the turbulence and drama surrounding Harden, Wood chose to sign a three-year contract with the Rockets in the recent offseason, and he appears ready to take on a leadership role in the post-Harden era.

When asked if the Rockets could be competitive with elite teams, given how they are currently structured, Wood replied:

I do. I’m going to make this team competitive, whether they like it or not. I didn’t come to the Houston Rockets to lose games. I didn’t sign up for that. I’m not here for that. I came here to win, I came here to compete, and I’m going to make sure everybody on this team is competing.

Wood, who acknowledged that Harden’s situation has hung over the team since training camp, said he was focused on controlling what he can control — which is Houston’s next game on Thursday in San Antonio.

A 6-foot-10 big man, Wood is averaging 22.6 points (52.9% FG) and 9.5 rebounds in 32.9 minutes per game this season. If sustained, those numbers could put him in All-Star consideration later this year.

At 25 years old, he’s also young enough to be a building block for the team’s future beyond the Harden era, which seemingly could end at any moment. What’s most important for the Rockets, given the organization’s recent upheaval and instability, is that Wood clearly wants to be in Houston — and it seems he’s embracing a larger leadership role, as well.

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