Due to a recent ankle injury and a long period of scarce playing time in the middle of this season, Wizards center Daniel Gafford remains on a minutes restriction of about 16 minutes per night. But as that minutes limit gets relaxed by the team’s training staff, there’s a chance Gafford could find his way to the starting lineup.
Head coach Scott Brooks revealed that piece of news on Wednesday before their game against the Kings, though it really wasn’t that surprising if you have watched Gafford play lately. Through four games since being traded to Washington, Gafford is averaging 12.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game while shooting 74.1 percent.
It’s a small sample size, but he’s already done enough to warrant consideration to start.
“There are definitely possibilities of [him starting], but right now there are minutes restrictions,” Brooks said.
Brooks has rolled with Alex Len as his starting center in each of the Wizards’ last 17 games. Before that, it was Moe Wagner. Robin Lopez and Jordan Bell have also started at the five as Brooks has explored different options since Thomas Bryant, their original starting center, went down with a season-ending ACL injury in January.
Brooks was asked whether Gafford’s minutes restriction will be adjusted in the coming games and he suggested it won’t anytime soon. He said the team’s trainers and Gafford are all “comfortable” with where his limit is now.
What that means for Brooks is he will continue playing a three-center rotation, using Gafford, Lopez and Len for nearly equal playing time.
To Lopez and Len’s credit, they have also played well at times this season, with Lopez on a recent scoring tear. Gafford, though, may be able to provide more upside with his ability to block shots, run the floor and throw down lobs.