Houston Rockets center Christian Wood didn’t have the best game on Saturday. Aside from being benched at the start of their showdown with the Denver Nuggets, he was also reprimanded by assistant coach John Lucas II. And the root cause of it all? His effort.
According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, Wood lost his starting role in the game as a form of punishment after he missed a mandatory COVID-19 testing window. Given the recent COVID-19 outbreak in the NBA and the number of players entering the health and safety protocols, it is only natural for teams to enforce strict measures to ensure the continuity of games.
The issues, however, didn’t stop there. Lucas apparently had a heated exchange with multiple players after he called them out at halftime. Wood was on the receiving end of that callout after the longtime assistant coach questioned his efforts in the contest.
Sources: Wood was benched to start the loss to Denver after missing a mandatory COVID-19 testing window. Lucas called out entire team at halftime, and focused on Wood's effort level. Porter had a heated exchange with the longtime assistant, and drove out of arena at halftime. https://t.co/24oAwV2GqC
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) January 2, 2022
For what it’s worth, the controversial exchange between the Rockets assistant and the players was also the same reason why guard Kevin Porter Jr. walked out mid-game and left the arena. As Shams noted, he threw an object and quickly left following the controversial encounter.
This is certainly not a good look for the Rockets, especially amid a rebuilding season. The reason they are not playing John Wall is to quickly develop their young players, but if the player development coach himself has issues with the team, it could only lead to further mess.
With how things turned out, the Rockets are likely to hand punishments to the two players to discipline them. It could be a fine or suspension for conduct detrimental to the team, though nothing is certain yet and it’s a story worth keeping an eye on.