DALLAS — Maybe, for Christian Wood in Dallas, it wasn’t always going to be smooth. But as of late, his playing time — or lack thereof — is head-scratching at best and tenuous at worst.

Through 16 games, the Mavericks sit at 9-7, collecting a handful of losses where the team should have won. Despite team inconsistencies, the constant has been Wood’s lack of minutes despite playing well with Luka Doncic and being one of three players on the roster shooting above 40 percent from the 3-point line.

From the outside looking in, it appears as though Wood has said and done all the right things. Yet, after practice on Monday, head coach Jason Kidd explained there is more that goes into playing time than mere name expectations.

“It’s not about minutes and scoring — it’s about winning,” Kidd said. “There is no guarantee… You have to earn your minutes. The roster is heavy. There are a lot of bigs. Someone has to be unselfish. And that is what good teams do — they can be unselfish.”

Good teams also win games they are supposed to beat by playing their best offensive players.

The confusing Christian Wood situation

In Dallas’ first meeting with Denver on Friday, Wood scored 28 points in 26 minutes. He shot 11-for-16 from the field and 2-for-4 from the 3-point line. Wood was rewarded for that performance with fewer minutes (17) in Sunday’s matchup with Denver and only three shot attempts.

He only played seven minutes in the second half — two minutes in the fourth quarter — which saw Dallas squander a lead while giving up a 29-point game to Bones Hyland. And after the game, Wood took some exceptions regarding playing such a marginal role in the loss, stating that he has “no clue” what his role is coming into games.

“I would love to play more,” Wood added. “I’ve voiced that several times, but I just play my role.”

Though Wood may be the Mavericks’ third-ranked scorer at 16.6 points per game, he sits fifth in minutes (24.6 per game). He is playing the same amount of minutes as Maxi Kleber, who is averaging 4.5 points per game while shooting 27 percent from three. Also averaging the same minutes per game is Tim Hardaway jr., who is slogging through one of the worst shooting stretches of his career: 31 percent from the field and 31 percent from 3-point range.

Playing more minutes than Wood in the rotation is Reggie Bullock, who plays nearly 30 minutes a game while shooting 29 percent from three and 31 percent from the floor.

If it’s about earning minutes, he has clearly done that, yet his role in the rotation appears to change nightly. With Wood set to hit unrestricted free agency next summer, Dallas’ handling of his role must be taken into account when posturing the likelihood of the Mavericks re-signing the talented big man. On the open market, he will command more money than what Dallas could offer right now. But one has to wonder whether, after Dallas’ lack of clarity regarding Wood’s role early in the season, he’ll even want to stick around.

Related Dallas Mavericks reading

“Mavericks’ offseason addition speaks on a shifted role.” 

“Mavericks: Why some wins feel like losses.” 

“Jason Kidd has a worrying message about Luka Doncic.” 

Feature image via Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports