Three things to know about new Wizards forward Daniel Gafford

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Andrew Gillis
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Three things to know about new Wizards forward Daniel Gafford originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

The Wizards traded Troy Brown Jr. and Moe Wagner to the Bulls on Thursday’s NBA Trade Deadline day for a pair of young players in Daniel Gafford and Chandler Hutchison. 

Here are three things to know about Gafford as he joins the Wizards. 

He’s an athletic big

Gafford is listed at 6-foot-10 and 234 pounds and can play either power forward or center. He’s played in 31 games with the Bulls this season at 12.4 minutes per night. He’s averaged 4.7 points per game and 3.3 rebounds.

He should help replace what the Wizards are losing in Wagner, as he led the Bulls in block percentage (7.6), was fourth in total rebound percentage (14.9) and led the Bulls with 3.3 blocks per 36 minutes. His defensive rating (an estimate of points allowed per 100 possessions) of 107 was the best on the Bulls. 

Gafford, who was drafted by the Bulls 38th overall in the 2019 NBA Draft, should provide some much needed defensive help down low for the Wizards.

He played his best games of the season against the Wizards

If Gafford’s name sounds familiar to Wizards fans, it’s because he stood out in the two games he faced them. 

On New Year’s Eve, he scored a season-best 15 points on 7-of-8 shooting. He grabbed five rebounds, had two assists, two steals and a block in 22:16 on the floor, which also was a season-high. 

In early February, he scored 10 points (fourth-best on the season) and had five rebounds and two blocks in 14:52 on the floor. 

So if the Wizards wanted an up-close look at Gafford’s best, they certainly got it. 

He’d recently fallen out of favor in Chicago 

After Wendell Carter Jr. went down with an injury in January, Gafford stepped into the lineup and started 11 games for the Bulls. But not only did he soon fall out of the lineup, he fell out of the rotation entirely. 

He made his last start on Feb. 12 against the Clippers and played just 7:47. He played in just 10 of the next 15 games, and saw no more than six minutes in all but one game. 

He recently returned to the lineup and played in the Bulls’ last three games, and seems to know he missed an opportunity in Chicago.

“I just felt like I took the opportunity for granted,’’ Gafford recently told the Chicago Sun Times. “I came out, I was nonchalant. I was not really aggressive. You know, I just came out like, ‘Hey, I just do this every day.’ ‘‘But like I said, I took it for granted, and I basically threw away the things that I was doing, and at that point, I just knew that changes were gonna have to be made because of how I was playing.’’

Now, he’ll get a fresh start with another team that could use his defensive help.