Daniel Gafford: From Doubt to Dominance – A Journey to NBA Success

The American Airlines Center was already boiling when Daniel Gafford signed the “dagger”. With less than a minute remaining in this 3rd round against the Wolves, Mike Conley thought he could overtake the Mavs pivot to bring his team back to four points.

But the latter managed to deploy his arm to counter the veteran’s lay-up attempt. A decisive gesture for the pivot who had already done the same a few minutes earlier in front of Karl-Anthony Towns.

And in the wake of this third counter of his evening, Daniel Gafford would close the debates by receiving this alley-oop perfectly generated by the inevitable Luka Doncic. A big one-handed dunk with the foul of Rudy Gobert. Enough to stay on the ground for a few seconds to display all his rage.

« We needed to keep our cool, stay together, be a team that faces adversity », reports after the match the pivot, therefore decisive despite its modest stats line (5 points and 3 rebounds in 29 minutes). “ I let the game come to me, I try not to force anything at all. I try to put a lot of love into the game because it reflects back to me “, he blurted.

On the set of Inside the NBA, we keep reminding him that he and PJ Washington experienced a spectacular turnaround this season, going from teams that weren’t winning to a team that was only one round away from the highest of the scenes, the NBA finals. “ We were in a situation where we were already humble », Notes the former Wizards player.

Time to find your place

Charles Barkley then pointed out to him that he had also experienced dark days when he played in Philadelphia at the start of his career. To the point of wondering if he was good enough to play. Daniel Gafford also says he has experienced evenings of doubt.

« Especially my first year and a half. I had a lot of ups and downs, I wanted to be better than I showed. I felt like I wasn’t taking advantage of a lot of things that were offered to me. I was still young, trying to learn », remembers the one who sees himself as a “ southern countryman “, of El Dorado in Arkansas, which had “ not much ” younger.

Drafted in the second round in 2019 (38th choice) upon leaving the NCAA, he had difficulty finding his place with the Bulls while waiting to be transferred to Washington after a year and a half in the Big League. With the Wizards, he was able to show himself more as a starter. And even more so today, under a much bigger spotlight.

« Knowing these experiences made me work from scratch, because I felt that it was one of the things I had to do to take the next step. It helped me mentally, physically, to take responsibility for everything. And I thank everyone who was behind me, pushing me to get here ».

Daniel Gafford Percentage Rebounds Season Team MJ Min Shots 3pts LF Off Def Tot Pd Fte Int Bp Ct Pts 2019-20 CHI 43 14 70.1 0.0 53.3 1.2 1.3 2.5 0.5 2.3 0.3 0.7 1.3 5.1 2020-21 * All Teams 54 15 68.4 0.0 66.7 1.7 2.5 4.3 0.5 1.8 0.5 0.8 1.4 7.0 2020-21 * CHI 31 12 69.0 0.0 65.9 1.4 1.9 3.3 0.6 1.7 0.4 0.7 1.1 4.7 2020-21 * WAS 23 18 68.1 .0 67.2 2.2 3.4 5.6 0.5 1.9 0.7 0.8 1.8 10.1 2021-22 WAS 72 20 69.3 0.0 69.9 2.2 3.5 5.7 0.9 2.4 0.4 0.9 1.4 9.4 2022-23 WAS 78 21 73.2 0.0 67.9 2.1 3.5 5.6 1.1 2.4 0.4 1.1 1.3 9.0 2023-24 * All Teams 74 25 72.5 0.0 67.4 2.6 5.0 7.6 1.6 3.1 0.9 1.0 2.1 11.0 2023-24 * WAS 45 27 69.0 0.0 70.6 2.9 5.1 8.0 1.5 3.3 1.0 1.0 2.2 10.9 2023-24 * DAL 29 22 78.0 0.0 60.7 2.2 4.7 6.9 1. 6 2.8 0.7 1.0 1.9 11.2 Total 321 20 71.1 0.0 66.8 2.1 3.4 5.4 1.0 2.4 0.5 0.9 1.5 8.7

How to read the stats? MJ = matches played; Min = Minutes; Shots = Successful shots / Attempted shots; 3pts = 3-points / 3-points attempted; LF = free throws made / free throws attempted; Off = offensive rebound; Def=defensive rebound; Tot = Total rebounds; Pd = assists; Fte: Personal fouls; Int = Intercepts; Bp = Lost balls; Ct: Against; Pts = Points.

2024-05-27 08:45:44
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