Wizards head coach Wes Unseld Jr. recently praised center Daniel Gafford, calling the 22-year-old a unique defensive talent, as Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington writes. Gafford was acquired by the team in a three-team deal last March.
“I’ll say this, I haven’t had the opportunity over the past few years to have a dynamic guy like that,” Unseld said. “The shot-blocking, his ability to change shots around the rim, to run the floor, to finish above the rim and be a presence to put pressure on the rim as a roller. His flexibility, his versatility; he’s very fluid. For a lot of guys that big, it doesn’t come easy.”
In his 23 games with the Wizards last season, Gafford averaged 10.1 points, 5.6 rebounds, 1.8 blocks and 17.7 minutes per contest. He’s expected to compete for minutes this season in a Washington frontcourt that features Thomas Bryant and Montrezl Harrell.
Here are some other notes from the Southeast Division:
- Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel explores whether the Heat should’ve brought back Avery Bradley. Bradley, who played 10 games for Miami last season, ultimately decided to sign a deal with the Warriors, having reportedly not received much interest from the Heat. Miami could still use some backcourt depth — especially if Victor Oladipo (quadriceps tendon rehab) isn’t close to a return.
- Speaking of the Heat, Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald offered a breakdown of the team’s roster entering training camp. Miami currently has a full 20-man squad, including four players on Exhibit 10 contracts.
- Josh Robbins of The Athletic examines what the Magic would consider a successful start of the season to be. Orlando is entering a rebuild year, sporting a young core that includes Markelle Fultz, Jalen Suggs, Jonathan Isaac and Wendell Carter Jr.