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Dirk Nowitzki Sees Major Potential for Mavs' Christian Wood

When Dirk Nowitzki speaks, we listen. The Dallas Mavericks legend had some great things to say about Christian Wood ahead of the 2022-23 NBA season.

The Dallas Mavericks experienced limitations at the center position in the playoffs, with Dwight Powell and Maxi Kleber as primary options. After the team acquired Christian Wood in a trade with the Houston Rockets in June, it was assumed that he would be the new starting center. However, Dallas signed JaVale McGee in free agency and promised him the starting gig.

During Sunday's celebrity tennis event hosted by The Dirk Nowitzki Foundation, the Mavs icon spoke to the team's official website about various topics related to the team. Among them was the potential impact that Wood can offer this season. 

Nowitzki highlighted the 7-foot-3 wingspan that Wood offers, in addition to his versatility as a ball screen — given he's capable of catching lobs as a roll man or knocking down motion 3s on the pop. He's also a player that can get the ball in the middle of the floor to make a play for the offense. 

“We’ve got some length, and I think Wood is going to fit in great,” Nowitzki said. “What I like about Wood is he can do a little bit of both. He can pick and pop, he can roll, and he can make some plays in the middle.

“Obviously the game is going smaller and smaller and everybody is switching, but you still need to have somebody in the paint to protect at times."

Wood’s defense was a topic of discussion over the offseason. He has the physical tools to be successful on that end of the court, but he’s never been in a real winning situation where motivation remains constant throughout the season. That will change for him now, as he’s joining a team with championship aspirations.

Only time will tell if Wood can raise the Mavs’ ceiling higher than where it was during their Western Conference Finals run last season … but Nowitzki sees good things on the horizon, and that should give Wood some extra confidence.

You can follow Grant Afseth on Twitter at @GrantAfseth.

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