Detroit Pistons center Christian Wood tests positive for coronavirus

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

On Saturday, Christian Wood became the third player in the NBA–and the first for the Detroit Pistons–to test positive for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). The announcement came days after the league indefinitely suspended all play.

When the Detroit Pistons traded Andre Drummond to the Cavaliers in February, they made it clear they were starting to rebuild. Stepping up to take his place at center was 24-year-old Christian Wood. It was clear the frontcourt would be built around Wood for the foreseeable future, and he was stepping up to the task more than admirably. Now, he has a new challenge to overcome: the coronavirus.

In just four NBA seasons, the UNLV grad has played for five different teams. His 62 games with the Pistons, however, are more than his time with the other four teams combined. It seems Christian Wood has a place in Detroit, especially the last few weeks, where he has been submitting highlight reels and career highs.

Before Drummond was traded on February 6, Wood averaged 18 minutes off the bench, starting just a single game. Since then, Wood started 11 of 13 games and almost doubled his minutes (34.2). It was far from uneventful playtime, either. In the week before the shutdown, he raised his career-high in points three times in four games, scoring 29, 30, and 32 points. He was nothing short of spectacular.

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Christian Wood has also diversified the scoring as well. While the majority of baskets (63%) are coming within 10 feet of the rim, he is also shooting over 2 threes a game at 38.9%. Since Drummond’s departure, those numbers have risen to 4.2 per game and 40%.

This ability to space the floor is precisely in line with Dwane Casey’s style of offense. Signs show he will continue to be a good shooter, too: while he does not get to the free-throw line as often as many centers, he makes 74% of free throws, a decent mark for big men. He is not quite the rebounding phenom Drummond was, and Wood has still managed to pull down 9.9 per game in the last month.

Wood will enter this offseason as an unrestricted free agent; his previous contract of two years was in the region of $1.6 million. Doubtless, he has played himself into a better deal. As the Pistons continue their rebuild, expect them to negotiate and keep Wood on the team. He can be an affordable piece around which to build a frontcourt. Since he is a young professional athlete in good conditioning, the coronavirus is unlikely to have a lasting impact on his future.

It is unclear, of course, how Wood contracted the virus, but it is worth noting the Detroit Pistons were one of the seven teams to play the Utah Jazz in the weeks leading up to the league’s suspension. Whether or not this had a direct effect is only open to speculation. Whatever the cause, we can all wish Wood–and everyone affected–a speedy recovery. This is yet another reminder for everyone to stay clean and to stay safe.

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For more information about COVID-19, visit the CDC’s website or the website for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.