Home » News » Gafford: From Overlooked to Key Maverick
SuperAce88 BET SuperAce88 Games in Philippines - Best SuperAce88 Bonuses Online Casino

Destiny and the Mavericks

“What’s meant to be will be.” This phrase aptly describes Daniel Gafford’s journey with the Dallas Mavericks. At the right time, the right person emerged to help the team exceed expectations and reach the NBA Finals.

In 2011, the Dallas Mavericks won their first championship by defeating the Miami Heat 4-2. Center Tyson Chandler’s defensive dominance and passion were crucial to their success.

Fast forward thirteen years, the Mavericks are back in the Finals. Chandler’s qualities seem to have been inherited by new players.

Defensive Strength

Rookie Dereck Lively II has continued Chandler’s legacy of strong defensive skills and athleticism. Daniel Gafford, on the other hand, embodies Chandler’s fiery spirit and energy, boosting the team’s morale.

Compared to the highly anticipated Chandler and Lively, Gafford’s rise is more surprising, almost a “coincidence.”

Missed Opportunity in 2019 Draft

In the 2019 draft, the Chicago Bulls picked Gafford from Arkansas University in the second round, 38th overall. Despite his defensive potential, Gafford’s draft position was low due to his underdeveloped basketball skills.

“I don’t regret entering the draft,” Gafford said. “After my freshman year, I went back to school for another year. I knew I had a lot to improve on.”

Gafford’s lack of modern offensive skills, limited to dunks and close shots, and poor spatial awareness were significant drawbacks. Despite his mobility and physical attributes, these issues contributed to his draft position.

Near Miss with the Mavericks

Interestingly, the Mavericks, holding the 37th pick, passed on Gafford, choosing Deividas Sirvydis instead. This decision meant the Mavericks missed their first chance to acquire Gafford.

Gafford’s Time with the Bulls and Wizards

Gafford’s playing time was inconsistent with the Bulls. Despite flashes of potential, he spent significant time in the G League. A three-team trade in 2021 sent Gafford to the Washington Wizards, where he found more stability.

Under coach Scott Brooks, Gafford focused on defense and finishing plays. His role was simplified to maximizing his physical advantages, leading to a breakout.

SuperAce88 BET SuperAce88 Games in Philippines - Best SuperAce88 Bonuses Online Casino

Gafford’s Evolution with the Wizards

In Washington, Gafford thrived, benefiting from playing alongside stars like Russell Westbrook and Bradley Beal. He became a starting center in his third year, showcasing his improved finishing skills with a true shooting percentage of 73.9%.

Despite his progress, the Wizards’ inconsistent performance and salary cap issues led to a rebuilding phase, making Gafford a valuable trade asset.

Mavericks’ Strategic Move

The Mavericks, seeking to strengthen their defense, traded for Gafford, giving up Richaun Holmes and a first-round pick. This move significantly impacted their season’s trajectory.

Complementary Duo with Lively

Gafford’s arrival complemented Lively’s raw talent. Together, they formed a formidable defensive duo, helping the Mavericks achieve a 24-10 record post-February.

“Gafford is crucial for us. He can start or come off the bench,” said Mavericks coach Jason Kidd. “Having him and Lively is fantastic.”

Gafford’s Impact

Gafford adapted well to Dallas, benefiting from the offensive prowess of Kyrie Irving and Luka Dončić. He set a franchise record for consecutive field goals and played a key role in the Western Conference Finals.

While Gafford’s offensive skills might not match Lively’s, his energy and passion provide a unique advantage. His defensive efforts and motivational presence are invaluable.


Gafford’s journey from a second-round pick to a vital player for the Mavericks exemplifies resilience and adaptation. His defensive prowess and energy have been crucial, and he continues to play a significant role as the Mavericks strive for their first championship.

Gafford may eventually serve as a backup to Lively, but his journey and contributions have already proven his worth. He is now focused on helping his team win a championship.(Superace88)