How many games will Christian Wood start for the Dallas Mavericks next season?
Wood will still start games, despite not being the “starter”. Maxi Kleber opened 21 regular season contests last year. Tim Hardaway Jr., Spencer Dinwiddie, Frank Ntilikina, and Josh Green all started at least three times. Injuries, ineffectiveness, and matchups can all dictate changes in the opening five.
Looking at their roster, Wood should start whenever JaVale McGee misses time. He could quickly earn the same role when Dorian Finney-Smith is out if he can prove he plays well next to McGee. Wood struggled to play next to Alperen Sengun last season as his defense suffered having to guard on the perimeter.
The Mavericks could look to punish a big man and force him to guard on the perimeter from the opening tipoff by inserting Wood. Dallas may try to play Ivica Zubac off the floor for the Clippers by starting Wood and letting him feast as the big man struggles to defend the Mavs' pick and pops.
Having Christian Wood coming off the bench gives head coach Jason Kidd optionality. He can insert Tim Hardaway Jr. or Wood quickly in a game and play them 35 minutes a night if they get hot.
Christian Wood is likely the team’s most effective center in the playoffs. Expect him to start at least 20 games next season, but that number does not matter.