The trade the Wizards made on Thursday to bring in Daniel Gafford and Chandler Hutchison from the Bulls was done because the team liked the long-term upside of both players, particularly on the defensive end. Gafford has shown potential as a shot-blocker, while Hutchison is billed as a versatile wing defender. Over time, perhaps the Wizards will find something in those two.
For Gafford, one skill in particular has stood out to many on the Wizards and it's on the offensive end. That is his ability to throw down alley-oop dunks. Gafford is 6-foot-10 with long arms and he can jump. And the Wizards know firsthand his ability to put the ball through the rim.
Back in December, Gafford had 15 points on 7-for-8 shooting against the Wizards, a night that included a series of rim-rattling dunks.
"We know Gafford’s a really great big. He kicked our butts when we played them," Bradley Beal said. "So, I think for the first time in my career I have a lob threat I can throw the ball to off a pick-and-roll."
"We’re excited about Daniel. I love his ability to finish around the rim. He’s a big-time lob threat," head coach Scott Brooks said.
"We haven’t had that since I’ve been here. He’s very bouncy around the rim. He’s not looking for jump shots, he’s looking for rim shots. He’s a young and developing player who will be a good addition to our program."
Beal has been with the Wizards since 2012, while Brooks joined them in 2016. Certainly, there has been no one quite like Gafford since Brooks took over as Washington's coach. The most athletic big man was probably Chris McCullough, but he rarely played.
Gafford, 22, has an opportunity to find minutes right away given his skillset and the position he plays. The Wizards could use more athleticism at center and some help on defense.
Hutchison may have a tougher task finding playing time given the Wizards' rotation and how his season has gone so far. But he's only 24 and presents upside as a first-round pick in just his third season.
"I know Hutchison’s a pretty solid wing. He’s a really good defender," Beal said.
"A very athletic wing and we need that. He fits a need," Brooks said. "We need some length and athleticism on the wing. I think he knows his game. He’s not a three-point shooter. He’s a pretty good slasher and a pretty good rim-runner. Those were things we like adding to our ballclub."
Anytime a team as bad as the Bulls gives up on players, the expectations should only be set so high. And certainly, the Wizards are not expecting Gafford and Hutchison to come in and save their season.
But both players should give the Wizards some things they didn't have in their system as they aim to continue developing young players to boost their roster long-term.