Wizards interim head coach Brian Keefe shared his thoughts on Daniel Gafford after his trade to the Mavericks.
Daniel Gafford, who was recently traded from the Washington Wizards to the Dallas Mavericks, is set to battle his former team on Monday night. Gafford has already impressed with Dallas, scoring 19 points and recording nine rebounds in Saturday’s victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder. Wizards interim head coach Brian Keefe was asked about Gafford prior to Monday’s contest, and he gave an introduction of sorts.
“He had a terrific year for us,” Keefe said of Gafford. “We miss him. We’re happy that he’s a little closer to home I guess, to Arkansas. He was the anchor of our defense… He showed great improvement. That was a lot on him but also a lot of our organization helping him the last couple years grow into the player that he’s become. Really enjoyed coaching him.”
So how will Gafford help the Mavericks?
“His defense, anchoring the defense,” Keefe said. “Obviously being a lob threat with (Luka) Doncic and (Kyrie) Irving. I think he’s going to be very helpful.”
It is evident that Daniel Gafford will play a pivotal role for the Mavs moving forward. He started Monday’s game, but whether he starts or comes off the bench the Mavericks will benefit from his presence in the post. But who is Daniel Gafford off the floor?
“He’s a terrific guy, a family guy,” Keefe said. “Really bright personality. Kind to everybody, I think you guys will really enjoy him in this organization.”
Daniel Gafford already making impact with Mavericks
Gafford has averaged 11.1 points per game so far during the 2023-24 season. His 8.0 rebounds per outing will certainly help this Mavs team, and he’s also posted 2.1 blocks per game. In a lot of ways, Gafford was the perfect trade deadline acquisition for Dallas.
Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd also addressed Gafford’s early impact on the Mavericks before Monday’s game.
“We’re excited to have him, he’s excited to be here,” Kidd said of Gafford. “We’re excited to have Gafford. We’ve always gone against him and he’s always hurt us. Anytime the Wizards missed, he got all their offensive rebounds. So now it’s nice to see that the other day, he does that to everybody not just us.
“So we’re really excited to have him as a starter or someone that’s gonna come off the bench and gives us depth. And he wants to win, and that’s all we can ask for.”
The Mavericks wanted to add size and they accomplished that goal by adding Gafford and PJ Washington Jr. Dallas will look to keep their winning streak alive on Monday at home against the Wizards.