Washington Wizards: Anthony Gill is making the most of late-season opportunities

Washington Wizards Anthony Gill. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
Washington Wizards Anthony Gill. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports /

Back when Deni Avdija went down with an ankle injury, an injury that will keep him out for the remainder of the season but thankfully won’t require surgery, I wrote about three guys that needed to step up in his absence for the Washington Wizards. Anthony Gill wasn’t on that list. I guess he should have been.

After a quiet start to the season, Anthony Gill has taken advantage of some late-season opportunities with the Washington Wizards.

Gill was a bit of a puzzling offseason acquisition for the Wizards, and the 28-year-old rookie played in only 18 of the season’s first 58 games. But ever since Avdija went down, Gill’s minutes have gone up. In four of the last five games, Gill played at least 13 minutes and played more than 18 minutes twice. And his minutes have been far from unproductive.

  • 4/23 @ OKC (W): nine points (4/5 FG, 1/2 3PT), 10 rebounds in 20:18 minutes
  • 4/25 vs. CLE (W): five points (2/4 FG; 1/2 3PT), three rebounds in 13:59 minutes
  • 4/26 vs. SAS (L): 13 points (6/7 FG; 1/1 3PT) in 13:55 minutes
  • 4/28 vs. LAL (W): DNP
  • 4/30 @ CLE (W): 10 points (4/5 FG; 1/2 3PT ), four assists, two steals in 18:48 minutes

Before this recent uptick in playing time, Gill played more than five minutes just four times this season. Not surprisingly, Gill’s best performances have come when he’s given the time to actually contribute. Four of Gill’s top five scoring performances this season have come since April 23. Plus, Gill has been surprisingly efficient from the floor when given a chance to shoot.

In the eight games in which he has played at least nine minutes, Gill has shot an impressive 54. percent from the field (18/33). His efficient offensive contributions are made even better by the fact that the Wizards don’t really rely on Gill for his potential points.

Gill is a quintessential “glue guy.” He brings energy on the defensive end. He hustles for loose balls and bouncing rebounds. He does the little things. Although Gill may not be the most imposing presence on defense or when banging around on the boards, after spending so long in the trenches, he certainly isn’t taking any plays off. That energy pays dividends.

Gill was one of the more head-scratching moves the Wizards made last offseason. He wasn’t really on anybody’s radar as a possible roster addition. After failing to make things work at the NBA level following an impressive career at the University of Virginia, Gill had found a basketball home with BC Khimki in the EuroLeague. Through 50-some games, it seemed like his stay in Washington was going to be a short and unremarkable one. Now that he’s getting significant minutes, he’s changing that narrative.

Gill’s contract for next season is worth $1.5 million. None of that money is guaranteed, so the Wizards could part ways pretty easily. A couple of weeks ago, that looked like the most logical move. But if Gill keeps playing like this, it’ll be difficult to justify not bringing him back on such a cheap deal, even if he’s back in the trenches.

dark. Next. 3 role players that are key for a play-in birth