Grading every Dallas Mavericks player ahead of 2024 NBA Playoffs

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6. Daniel Gafford

Before the trade deadline, the Dallas Mavericks' center depth was a huge concern.

With Dereck Lively II missing games with various injuries, the Mavs' performance on both ends of the floor significantly dropped with him off the floor and they needed an upgrade from Dwight Powell and Richaun Holmes.

Dallas got the upgrade they needed in early February when they traded for Daniel Gafford, and he has been outstanding as a starter and off the bench. In 29 games as a Maverick, Gafford averaged 11.2 points, 6.9 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 0.7 steals, and 1.9 blocks per game while shooting 78 percent from the field.

Gafford was elite in the pick and roll with Luka Doncic and his ability to protect the rim was outstanding. The Mavs have finally found a great one-two punch at the center position, and Gafford fits perfectly on this squad.

When he and P.J. Washington arrived in Dallas, the chemistry of the team skyrocketed. Both players have been game-changers for this squad, and Gafford's improvements over the last few months have been bigger than people realize.

He went from just catching lobs to scoring with post hooks and tough finishes around the bucket, and Gafford's effect on the game in the playoffs will be huge.

Gafford gets an A for his season with the Mavs and fans should be excited about having him as the starting five for years to come.

Gaff grade. A. Has been excellent on both ends of the floor and helped change the direction of the team. Provides stability at the starting center spot and is a great locker room presence. Daniel Gafford