1. Trading for Daniel Gafford
The Dallas Mavericks have been seeking Dereck Lively II assurance all season, and they finally get that in 25-year-old center Daniel Gafford. Gafford has posted averages of 10.9 points, 8.0 rebounds, 2.2 blocks, and one steal per game as well for the Washington Wizards this season in 45 games.
Lively II has obviously proved himself to be Dallas' center of the future through his rim protection and rim-rolling ability, but the 19-year-old rookie still falls victim to the occasional rookie mistake such as getting into foul trouble fast or being out of position on defense.
Lively II has also been in-and-out of the lineup for Dallas recently with a few distinct minor injuries, so adding Gafford is a huge addition to a Mavericks' roster that has seen very inconsitent play from their backup bigs in Maxi Kleber, Dwight Powell, and Richaun Holmes.
Gafford is limited offensively just as Lively II is, but he's a great rim-roller whose skills will be accentuated in a Mavericks' offense that features dynamic ball handlers in Luka Doncic, Kyrie Irving, as well as potentially Spencer Dinwiddie. Gafford has taken a drastic leap as a rebounder this year as well by pulling down eight boards in only 26.5 minutes per game for the Wizards this season, so him and Washington should do wonders for Dallas' woes on the glass.
Gafford is extremely versatile on defense, as he has great length and athleticism despite only being 6-foot-10, as he's shown the ability to be both a great rim protector and a sound positional defender. Gafford can even guard some larger wings on the perimeter for Dallas on occasion because of how quick and coordinated he is for a center, so Dallas couldn't ask for a better backup big man.
Dallas' dream of playing two rim-running and shot-blocking centers fo 48 minutes can finally be achieved with the acquisition of Gafford. It seems unlikely that Gafford would be the type of player to create a rift in the organization because Lively II is starting in front of him despite some fans concerns.
Gafford is a great fit in Dallas, but he's only 25-years-old as aforementioned and would be the type of player that Dallas would want to start if they never drafted Lively II, so we'll monitor the situation to see if any conflict arise there. Regardless, Gafford is an A+ fit on paper if he buys into his role.
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