Wizards Washington Daniel Gafford has been better than advertised
Wizards Wizards has better Gafford Daniel Washington than : been advertised
Mon, 26 Apr 2021 04:00:00 -0700
But, as we know this team is good at keeping their cards close to the chest
Shortly before the deadline, the Wizards sent out Troy Brown Jr
and Moritz Wagner in
Washington Wizards Daniel Gafford. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Going into the trade deadline, the Washington Wizards were not expected to be big buyers, if they were even buyers at all. Some fans and writers (including myself) expected them to stand pat completely and move through the deadline with an unchanged roster.
But, as we know this team is good at keeping their cards close to the chest. Shortly before the deadline, the Wizards sent out Troy Brown Jr. and Moritz Wagner in exchange for Daniel Gafford and Chandler Hutchinson as part of a three team trade with the Boston Celtics and Chicago Bulls.
When the trade went down, I don’t think a lot of people looked at this as some major move for either side. Certainly not a needle-moving pick on par with Aaron Gordon to the Denver Nuggets or Lou Williams to the Atlanta Hawks. This one looked more like swap two intriguing young prospects (Brown and Gafford) who would benefit from a change of scenery as opposed to the move that would put any of these teams over the edge.
The move that brought Gafford and Hutchison to Washington is the type of move that has become familiar during the Tommy Sheppard era; the Wizards got two young, relatively cheap players on the fringes of their current roster. In D.C., they’re both getting a second chance. Daniel Gafford is definitely making the most of a new situation, and boy are the Wizards reaping the benefits.
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Mon, 26 Apr 2021 04:00:00 -0700
Washington is making a late-season push for the play-in tournament
With a 119-110 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday, the Washington Wizards extended their winning streak to eight games. It marks the longest string of victories by the franchise since Michael Jordan suited up for the team after coming out of retirement the second time in December 2001. Wizards star guard Bradley Beal poured in 33 points to help Washington overcome an eight-point deficit early in the fourth quarter to topple Cleveland.
The Wizards ended the fourth quarter on a 14-5 run to push past the Cavaliers. A Daniel Gafford dunk off an assist from Russell Westbrook put Washington out in front for good with 1:44 left in the game.
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“It’s a blessing, but we don’t pat ourselves on the back or anything like that because we still got our work cut out,” Beal said after the game. “Tonight was probably one of our not-so-good nights. Granted, we duked it out and won, but we had a lot of mental lapses and defensive lapses that we shouldn’t have had tonight.”
The win streak the Wizards are on mean more than just tying its longest streak since the Jordan days. It also has huge implications on the playoff picture in the East. Washington is now two games ahead of the Chicago Bulls for the 10th spot in the East, giving it the last slot in the play-in tournament with a chance of making the playoffs this year.
“It means a lot to be in this position, but looking ahead at what we’re trying to accomplish, we still got a lot of things to improve on in a short amount of time,” Beal said.
Beal’s right as the road ahead for Washington to end the season is going to be a tough stretch. Of the 12 games remaining on the Wizards’ schedule, seven are on the road, and they have three back-to-back games as well. The competition won’t be easy either. Washington still has to play the Lakers, Mavericks, Bucks, Hornets, Spurs, and the Pacers and Hawks both twice. All of those teams are still fighting for playoff positioning so none of them will be easy.
Considering how Washington’s season started, just being in this position is a positive for this squad. The Wizards started out the season on a five-game losing streak, and prior to this current winning streak, they were on another five-game skid as well. It’s taken time for Beal and Westbrook to find a balance together this season, especially with all of the young players surrounding them. Yet over the course of the win streak, Beal has been averaging 32.1 points a game, while Westbrook is putting up 22.4 points, 13.1 rebounds and 11.8 assists.
It appears as though the Wizards are starting the click at the right time, and it may pay off in the form of a playoff spot, something the team hasn’t had since the 2017-18 season.
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Images by Getty Images and US Presswire
– April 26, 2021