In the Washington Wizards win over the Detroit Pistons on Tuesday, something stood out to me. The Wizards centers! After trading Montrezl Harrell, a lot of responsibility went on Daniel Gafford and Thomas Bryant. I had always been a fan of Daniel Gafford and what he has done to elevate Washington’s play has been tremendous. While Bryant doesn’t impact the winning as much, he has proven to be a better scorer and even better shooter which are rare quality’s for a center other than Nikola Jokic, Joel Embiid and Karl-Anthony Towns. This is why the Wizards centers are 2 electrifying and fun centers to have on a team!
That game against the Pistons showed me how both of them can play well in the same game and still win. Daniel Gafford played great in the 1st half and finished the game with 12 points, 4 rebounds, 1 steal and 3 blocks. Thomas Bryant off the bench had 16 points, 6 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 block while having a +10 plus-minus in the process. The Wizards won this game because of both of their ability’s, Gafford in the 1st half, Bryant in the 2nd. But they both have great qualities and qualities they need to improve on as a player to make them even more fun and electrifying!
Daniel Gafford, 23, is a defensive monster. With 49 games played with the Wizards, Gafford has averaged 1.6 blocks with the team. Gafford is tied for 8th in the NBA in blocks with 1.5 this season, higher than Joel Embiid and Giannis Antetokounmpo. Gafford has also made a big impact for the Wizards when it comes to winning. The Wizards have around a 55% win percentage when Daniel Gafford plays, a 41-34 record to be exact. Gafford was traded on March 25th, 2021 to the Wizards. In the games he was eligible to play and was out since then, the Wizards have a 6-9 record, a 40% win percentage! That is about a 15% increase just by missing Daniel Gafford. This probably happens because of Gafford’s overall ability. PER (Player Efficiency Rating), is a system that describes the overall impact of a player. He is 28th in this category this season, higher than Chris Paul, Kyrie Irving, Devin Booker, etc. He was also 25th in this category last season. He is a defensive monster that is a lob threat and is filled with highlights because of it!
Thomas Bryant, 24, is an offensive monster. He averaged double digit points per game for 3 straight seasons. He is also a decent shooter. Last season, on 2.1 3PA per game, he had very close to a 43% 3pt percentage in 10 games (the amount of games he played before he got injured for the season). Dirk Nowitzki—arguably the most dominate shooter at the big man position ever—shot 40% from 3 in his first 10 games of his 4th season, lower than Bryant! Bryant has a shooting ability most centers don’t have. He also is very good at developing himself into a better player. Before he got hurt, Bryant went from 1.5 points per game in 2018 to 14.3 points in 2021, a 12.8 point per game increase in just 3 seasons! That is something a team would want. With Bryant’s contract up this offseason, the Wizards would be silly not to sign him back if they have confidence in him and Gafford continuing to play well.
Like I said, with Bryant’s contract up this offseason, we may not see these 2 come to work on the same team next season. But even if it’s just for the rest of this season, I will appreciate, as a Wizards fan, having these 2 fun and electrifying centers on the same team and thinking about how good they can eventually become!
Wiz Talk with Chase
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