Gill showing much more beyond his bench player role originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
When it comes to winning in the sport of basketball, it’s not always about which player can score the most points. There are many other ways someone can contribute to their team’s success - a great defensive play, hustling or just having a vocal presence.
Wizards forward Anthony Gill is a textbook example of a player who positively impacts his team’s success despite what his numbers show in the stat sheet. Although Gill’s playing time has been minuscule as of late, he averages about 3.6 points, 1.8 rebounds and 1.6 assists in 13.3 minutes of play.
In his third season with the Wizards, Gill has established himself as a role player who shows up every day to work hard and push his teammates to improve. Ever since Gill was a kid, he was raised to look out for others and to make people the best possible versions of themselves.
“For me, I get a lot of fulfillment out of it (pushing his teammates),” Gill told the Off The Bench podcast earlier this month. “Much more than I can get from a phone or going out and scoring however many points or winning x-amount of games. The interaction is day-to-day, and I want to make sure the next person is ok and that in return gives me fulfillment.”
A team’s success is based on each player making sacrifices and stepping into roles that might not be preferable. There are so many players on the Wizards roster who can score 20+ points a game, but Gill has always believed in sacrificing for the team over the individual dating to his days at the University of Virginia.
“I think we are going to be the only team that can stop us,” said Gill.
Team basketball often seems to be the best recipe for success. Gill has learned to embrace the role he has with the Wizards and knows some of his teammates will have to do the same even when it’s not preferred.
Sometimes teammates need to do what is best for their team. Even if that means letting a young up-and-coming player take their playing time. Take guard Jordan Goodwin for example who is in his first season with the organization. After the Memphis and Charlotte road trip, Goodwin put his name on the map after getting big minutes.
“I was so happy for him,” Gill said. “I don’t think he knows how happy for him I am. To watch him every single day work so hard for a goal that doesn’t seem like it’s going to be obtained.”
Gill has high praise for the younger players on the Wizards roster, especially since he is relatively new to the league. It is very hard to even make the NBA, let alone earn big minutes once you get there. Gill knows how hard it is to get playing time, which is why he has such high praise for what Goodwin has been able to accomplish so far into the young season.
Gill might not be putting up numbers like Bradley Beal, Kyle Kuzma and Kristaps Porzingis are doing on a nightly basis, but the Big 3 needs a teammate like Gill who is going to have their backs both on and off the court.
Outside of battling it out during practice, Gill has shown tremendous care for his teammates and coaches. When the Wizards traveled to Charlotte for their game against the Hornets back on Nov. 7, Gill stepped into familiar territory being back in his hometown. There’s no place like home and the second Gill stepped off the team plane and smelled the Charlotte air, he knew he was home.
According to Gill, it was rewarding being able to introduce his family to his basketball family. During their brief stay in Charlotte, Gill brought many from the Wizards team to Krustaceans, a family-owned restaurant by his sister and brother-in-law.
Gill believes growing as teammates and as people are both interchangeable. The more time teammates spend together off the court the more opportunity there is to grow as people and that in return leads to better chemistry on the floor.
Gill’s recipe for success seems to be working, as the Wizards find themselves currently in the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference. Everyone on the roster has a role that needs to be fulfilled and Gill is leading by example even if it is just from the bench.
He has always been about putting the team first and the Wizards are better off for it.