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NBA Offseason Weekly: Bettors Rejoice as Lakers Land Wood in Bargain Deal

This week finally provided some fresh NBA news. Forward Christian Wood was perhaps the top remaining free agent. He inked a two-year deal with the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday.

The Lakers got a bargain deal at only $5.7 million with a player option in the second year. Wood has averaged at least 16 points in three consecutive seasons. Los Angeles will be paying Wood $2.7 million in the 2023-24 season. You can’t beat that.

NBA Offseason Weekly: Bettors Rejoice as Lakers Land Wood in Bargain Deal
Christian Wood #35 of the Dallas Mavericks dunks

How will the move impact NBA betting, though? Let’s look at what Wood’s role could look like and how it could impact the Lakers’ futures bets.

Wood Looking to Settle into Bench Role

Jovan Buha of The Athletic wrote an excellent piece on expectations for Wood’s role. Buha reported that the early expectation is that forward Rui Hachimura will start over Wood. That means Wood will likely come off the bench, as he did last season.

Wood is still capable of reaching the 16-points-per-game mark. He started in only 17 games with the Dallas Mavericks last season, averaging 16.6 points. Wood is a three-level scorer that can be a mismatch nightmare. He can pound it in the paint or step outside with a silky-smooth jump shot. In the 2022 season, Wood had an effective field goal percentage of 58.3% and cashed in 37.6% of his 3-point attempts.

The 27-year-old forward was available this long for a reason. He’s not perfect by any means. Wood is a defensive liability. He had a 116.7 defensive rating in the 2022 season.

However, his scoring ability looms large. Los Angeles ranked 27th in 3-point percentage in the 2022-23 season. Wood has shot at least 37% from deep in four consecutive seasons. Adding a shooter of this caliber should not be overlooked.

Ultimately, Wood will likely come off the bench playing in some two-big-man sets with Anthony Davis.

LA Futures Become More Intriguing?

Several Lakers’ futures look more enticing after this signing. According to NBA odds, Los Angeles is tied for the third-shortest odds to win the championship in the 2023-24 season (+1200). The sportsbook also has the Lakers’ projected win total at 47½.

Following a run to the Western Conference Finals while totaling 43 wins in the regular season, the over for LA’s win total is worth a bet. The Lakers were fourth in bench points per game last season. Wood is another double-digit scorer added to the bench. The deep rotation, which includes Gabe Vincent, Jarred Vanderbilt, Jaxson Hayes, Taurean Prince, first-round rookie Jalen Hood-Schifino and Wood, could be a scary sight.

NBA picks backing Los Angeles took a big step forward with the signing of Wood. This lineup is capable of cranking up the defensive pressure in the postseason, led by Davis, Vanderbilt and LeBron James. If the Lakers can relieve some of Davis and James’ scoring workload, they become a serious threat to win it all. Wood is a great addition that addresses that need to a T.

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