Daniel Gafford Making Immediate Impact For Dallas Mavericks

Daniel Gafford, Mavericks, NBA
Feb 10, 2024; Dallas, Texas, USA; Dallas Mavericks center Daniel Gafford (21) reacts during the second half against the Oklahoma City Thunder at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Mavericks were one of the teams many people considered big winners at the NBA Trade Deadline. They did an excellent job upgrading their rotation without sacrificing key pieces, adding to their frontcourt.

In a deal with the Washington Wizards, which also included the Oklahoma City Thunder, Dallas acquired center Daniel Gafford. In a second deal with the Charlotte Hornets, the Mavericks landed P.J. Washington.

Both players will serve an integral role for the Mavericks the rest of the season. Their biggest weaknesses were addressed, as a frontcourt that has given them issues for years is now filled with Gafford and Washington.

NBA NEWS & TRADE RUMORS: Daniel Gafford, P.J. Washington, Dallas Mavericks Updates

Head coach Jason Kidd said they would both be coming off the bench, but that lasted only one game. After being used with the second unit in their debuts, both Gafford and Washington moved into the starting five in Game 2.

While Washington has played well in his first two games with the Mavericks, Gafford has exploded onto the scene. He must be motivated going from the cellar with the Wizards to the thick of a playoff race with the Mavericks, as he has wasted no time making an impact.

In 17 minutes off the bench in his debut against the Thunder, Gafford scored 19 points with nine rebounds and one block. In his second game, against his former team and the first in the starting lineup, he took his production to another level.

Gafford dominated his former teammates, scoring 16 points with 17 rebounds, two steals and five blocks in 24 minutes. Most importantly, the Mavericks came away with a 112-104 win, as they are 2-0 since their additions entered the lineup. No one has recorded those numbers for the Mavericks since 1989.

NBA NEWS & TRADE RUMORS: Daniel Gafford, P.J. Washington, Dallas Mavericks Updates

Gafford’s role with Dallas is a simple one; he will catch lobs from Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving at the rim or passes at the free throw line when teams double. He can either attack the basket or make the next pass to an open man for a 3-pointer.

He was producing at a nice clip with the Wizards, but life is going to be much easier with Dallas. It is a massive upgrade going from Tyus Jones and Jordan Poole as the guards he is working with to Doncic and Irving. Big stat lines such as the one against Washington could become commonplace for Gafford in Dallas.

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