Washington Wizards: One weakness the Wizards can exploit vs. each play-in team

Washington Wizards. Mandatory Credit: Doug McSchooler-USA TODAY Sports
Washington Wizards. Mandatory Credit: Doug McSchooler-USA TODAY Sports /
2 of 4
Washington Wizards Daniel Gafford.
Washington Wizards Daniel Gafford. (Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images) /

Washington Wizards vs. Indiana Pacers

Weakness the Wizards can exploit: Weak interior

The Wizards are already one of the most productive teams in the paint, ranking fifth in points in the paint per game (52.8). But they could have a banner night against the Pacers if the two teams matchup in a play-in game.

The Pacers are the worst team in the NBA at protecting the paint, and give up an NBA-worst 53.9 points in the paint per game as of May 15. To make matters worse, the Pacers also give up more second-chance points than any other team in the NBA, 15.3 per game.

If there’s one thing the Wizards need to do if they face Indiana in the play-in tournament, it’s feed Daniel Gafford. Gafford has been great against the Pacers this season, averaging 10.6 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 1.7 blocks in just under 16 minutes per game. Gafford has efficiently feasted on the Pacers’ interior, missing just four of the 16 shots he’s taken against them this season as a member of the Wizards. And, like most of Gafford’s attempts, these were all around the rim.

Gafford has sometimes struggled to get consistent minutes with the Wizards, even in games when he’s obviously the best center on the court. The Wizards can’t afford to sit him for no reason if (and when) he’s making plays vs. the Pacers.

Gafford is the only Wizards big man that has averaged double figures vs. the Pacers this season, but he’s not the only Wizard that can take advantage of a frontcourt hemorrhaging points and offensive rebounds. Westbrook and Beal can both break down defenses and penetrate the paint against the best of them. And Westbrook leads the NBA in offensive rebounds per game among guards (1.7 per).

The Pacers’ weak interior is something the Wizards must exploit if these two teams match up in the play-in tournament.