Surprising decision by Dallas Mavericks coach Jason Kidd looks genius now

Dallas Mavericks v Chicago Bulls
Dallas Mavericks v Chicago Bulls / Michael Reaves/GettyImages

When the Dallas Mavericks traded for Daniel Gafford last month, no one knew exactly how good he would be in Dallas.

Gafford was having an extremely dominant season with the Washington Wizards, especially on defense, but no one knew what his role would look like with Dallas.

Mavs head coach Jason Kidd detailed the team's plans for Gafford early on, saying that he would have a chance to start before the All-Star break if the team wasn't fully healthy. This made sense, as Dereck Lively II has been outstanding as Dallas' starting big, but Gafford got a chance to start quickly as Lively II missed Dallas' game against the Wizards on February 12.

Surprising decision by Dallas Mavericks coach Jason Kidd looks genius now

Gafford put on a show in his first game as a starter, dropping 16 points, 17 rebounds, five blocks, and two steals. It was quickly clear that Kidd may have a tough choice to make between Gafford and Lively II as his starting center.

And this is the best kind of problem to have. Two bigs that are capable of starting; something Dallas hasn't had in quite a long time.

Lively II regained his starting spot after Gafford's second start, but Gafford has now started in the last three games. Lively II was not available for one of those games, but it looks like Gafford could be the starting center moving forward.

Kidd starting Gafford was a move that shocked and even angered some at first, but the numbers don't lie when looking at Gafford as a starter.

In five starts for the Mavs this season, Gafford averages 15 points, 9.6 rebounds, 0.8 steals, and 2.6 blocks per game while shooting 80.5 percent from the field. He is also quietly chasing Wilt Chamberlain's record of 35 consecutive field goals without a miss. Gafford is now at 28 consecutive field goals without a make, and the record could be happening soon if he keeps up his efficient play down low.

Gafford being the starter is nothing against Lively II, and it allows Gafford to set the tone while Lively II can see how the game is going before checking into the game. Lively II can sometimes get into foul trouble early, and him coming off the bench allows him to see what the referees are calling before stepping foot onto the floor while also learning behind Gafford.

Dallas' next game is at home tomorrow night against the Golden State Warriors.

For all the latest on Jason Kidd, Daniel Gafford, Dereck Lively II, and the Dallas Mavericks this season, stay tuned.