Washington Wizards: deep dive into the stellar play of Daniel Gafford

Daniel Gafford and Jordan Goodwin of the Washington Wizards celebrate after a dunk against the Chicago Bulls (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Daniel Gafford and Jordan Goodwin of the Washington Wizards celebrate after a dunk against the Chicago Bulls (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

While Daniel Gafford may not be a huge name in the NBA, nor do his stats say that he should be, he has still had a phenomenal season for the Washington Wizards. His impact for this team has been huge and cannot be overstated.

While at first his stat line of 8.6 points, 5.4 rebounds, 1 assist, and 1.2 blocks per game may seem a little underwhelming, once you look a little deeper into the stats, he looks elite.

Daniel Gafford has had a huge impact for the Washington Wizards on the backboard.

Whether it be on offense or on defense, Daniel Gafford has been there for the Wizards collecting rebounds at an astounding rate. He pulls in an astounding 15.3% of all rebounds in the game. When it comes to advanced rebounding stats, he becomes a monster. On the defensive end, he pulls in 18.4% of all rebounds. These stats become increasingly impressive when taking into account that he shares the floor with the towering Kristaps Porzingis nearly every second he is on the floor.

So far this season, Daniel Gafford is shooting an absurd 75% from the field. A ridiculous feat for any player. Many of these opportunities are created by securing the offensive rebound and going back up for a dunk.

On top of this, Gafford is also an excellent team rebounder. A strategy commonly used by Kevon Looney and Draymond Green, team rebounding means always boxing out, even if the rebound has no chance of coming to you and if the ball does come your way but you can’t get it, you tip it out of the opposing players hands. This allows the Wizards to be a great rebounding team whenever the center is on the floor, especially when he shares the floor with Kristaps Porzingis and Deni Avdija.

While Gafford has done nothing to add to the spacing on the team, he has been amazing at setting screens and helping players like Bradley Beal and Kyle Kuzma find driving lanes and is often the recipient of lobs from these kinds of plays.

He does all of this while only playing 19.7 points per game. An extremely low number for a player who has played as well as Gafford this season. However, this is not without cause.

To start the season, the Wizards started Deni Avdija instead of Gafford and would switch in Rui Hachimura to play more forward minutes. They would share all of the power forward minutes between themselves and Kyle Kuzma. This pushed Kristaps Porzingis over to the center position, the same position as Gafford.

Since it’s hard to justify taking away too many minutes from Porzingis, Gafford hardly played at first. Mix in injuries, continued minutes at center for the former All-Star, consistent foul trouble, and the occasional Taj Gibson game and Gafford loses a lot of minutes.

This has not taken away from how impactful he has been during his limited playing time, especially since he has played nearly all of the Wizards games so far this season.

The Washington Wizards have seen Daniel Gafford have a historic year this season. They have managed to waste it so far, can they turn it around and capitalize on his stellar play.