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Darvin Ham credits Christian Wood for ‘keeping it simple’

Christian Wood has locked down the role as Lakers backup center in recent weeks, something Darvin Ham credited to him ‘keeping it simple’ on the floor.

Los Angeles Clippers v Los Angeles Lakers Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images

It wasn't long ago that Christian Wood was glued to the bench and Jaxson Hayes was the Lakers backup big.

Over the last seven games, however, Wood has played as the Lakers' main backup option at center, playing 20.3 minutes per game and producing 9.4 points, 6.0 rebounds, 1.3 blocks, and 1.0 assists.

This production was noticeably absent when Hayes was in the lineup, as the only thing he could do at a high level was catch lobs. But in all other facets of the game, Wood has excelled for the Lakers and head coach Darvin Ham highlighted hit impact after the Lakers home win against the Raptors.

"It's huge, man," Ham said. "I know there's been a lot of noise about rotations and minutes. But at the end of the day, my man has settled into that backup five role. When you have a team full of good players that all want to get out there and compete, there's only 240 minutes in a game so, unfortunately, someone is going to get left out…At the end of the day, you have to tighten things up and have him settle into a consistent role, which he has at the backup five. And now he's settled down, he's become more and more comfortable with his teammates, he's understanding the guys he's out on the floor with and the rhythm in which they play with and he's finding his spots. And he's keeping it simple.

“He's making quick decisions, keeping it simple and doing the little things. Just him rebounding, setting good screens, rolling, shooting when he's open and not hesitating. They close out on him, he's driving downhill. He's not trying to play around with the ball anymore. He's tightened up his game and we've tightened up our rotation a little bit here recently and he's benefiting from it. He's a hell of a player and I'm looking forward to doing it more."

Ham publicly stating Wood is now the backup has never been verbalized and while that can change with a trade or a dip in performance, it's telling that he was willing to share this information with the media.

No one is expecting monster 20-point games or even double-doubles from Wood. He just needs to do the little things: score when open, spread the floor, finish near the rim and give his best effort on defense. It's a small sample size, but he's done just that since he's been given this opportunity.

Can he keep this role or jump up to starter so he gets even more time with LeBron James and Davis? That might be a stretch, but Wood is starting to demonstrate why the Lakers took a chance on the vet and reaping the rewards.

You can follow Edwin on Twitter at @ECreates88.

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