The rotation Wes Unseld Jr. and the Washington Wizards have been using recently has quickly become a primary point of discussion. It’s doing the team no favors on the court and it’s preventing everyone from finding a rhythm it seems.
Daniel Gafford, the team’s starting center, suddenly can’t be on the court for anything over 12 minutes in a game. He gets most of that run before he checks out for the first time. Gafford has gone six straight games without cracking the 13 minutes played mark.
In the team’s last five games, Gafford has played 55 total minutes. That’s the tenth highest total on the team.
In his very limited minutes, the Wizards tend to play better than when he is off the court. He has a team-high +/- of +9 over the last five games. To refuse to give him a few more minutes is simply unacceptable.
Part of the reason for Gafford’s minutes being down is because the team got healthy at the five spot. With both Montrezl Harrell and Thomas Bryant healthy, the coaching staff has cut down aggressively on Gaffords playing time.
Daniel Gafford Needs to be on the Court
There’s no excuse or reason to do it the way they have. Especially because of the unique skillset and impact Gafford brings to the table of those three guys.
Harrell has a good chance of being traded before the NBA trade deadline. While it makes sense to keep him active and show he’s healthy to other teams, he simply doesn’t need to be getting the majority of the center minutes.
If the Wizards could convince anyone they are making a playoff push and have potential come playoff time, maybe Harrell would have more value to the group. As of now, he’s a veteran on an expiring contract that could be a huge piece for some of the real contenders.
Bryant and Gafford are both younger and likely to be around much longer on this team. Harrells minutes can start declining slowly moving forward. Then it’s on the organization to move him before the deadline passes and there will be no issues.