This time 365 days ago, people like me were talking about a trade deadline recap. Last season’s trade deadline, All Star game and finish date was all backed up due to the COVID-19 pandemic. There were a lot of big trades last deadline. Nikola Vucevic was traded to the Bulls who are now a top 5 team in the Eastern Conference. Victor Oladipo was traded to the Miami Heat. However, we have not seen much time with him in Miami due to injury. But 1 trade, a trade that originally didn’t stand out, ended up being the best trade when it comes to value. It involved the Washington Wizards, Chicago Bulls and Boston Celtics!
As a Wizards fan, I was upset when they made the trade. I thought it wouldn’t be a good move since I was very high on Wizards forward Troy Brown Jr. since other young forwards like Jerome Robinson and Jordan Bell weren’t working out as well as I was thinking. But it ended up being a great move. The Bulls acquired Troy Brown Jr, Javonte Green and Daniel Theis, the Celtics acquired Mo Wagner and the Wizards acquired Daniel Gafford and Chandler Hutchison.
The Wizards, before Gafford’s first eligible game, were 15-28, around the 10th-11th seed. This was very disappointing for a team that high expectations after trading for Russell Westbrook 4.5 months earlier. Then, Daniel Gafford came in to DC and everything changed. His 1st performance with Washington was impressive. He had 13 points, 5 rebounds and 3 blocks. His 2nd game he put up 11 points, 6 rebounds and 2 blocks. The Wizards also won both of those games. Then Gafford got hurt and missed the next 5 games. Not surprisingly, the Wizards won 40% of their games in that stretch. This would become a continues pattern.
Every other game, Gafford was having double digit point scoring games and most games had at least 1 game. He was a dominant offensive and defensive force. Quietly, in this stretch, the Wizards were winning and Gafford was a big part of it. He was setting up lob opportunities for Westbrook and really opened up the triple double king’s abilities. The Wizards went a run I will never forget. They went 17-6 (18-7 including play-in games) to make the playoffs. Most of this success was because of Gafford.
Daniel Gafford played all of Washington’s final 23 (25) games. The Wizards only won about 1/3 of their games without Gafford.
Troy Brown Jr, is now averaging under 5 points per game and doesn’t make too much of an impact for Chicago. He has dropped since his double digit point per game average in 2020 with the Wizards. Mo Wagner never played a game for Boston and was immediately traded to Orlando, one of the worst teams in the league. Wagner is now their backup-3rd string center and is averaging under 9 points per game.
I wrote an article on how Daniel Gafford AND Thomas Bryant were making an impact for the Wizards. But, Daniel Gafford is truly the 1 player that has changed things around for the Wizards and the direction they go in their organization. Who would have known that this small, non talked about trade would change an organization’s future for the better!
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