LITTLE ROCK — Former Arkansas star Daniel Gafford has been a force through his first seven games with Washington since being traded to the Wizards in March, and last week he helped the team to a 4-0 record while averaging 11.3 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 2.3 blocks in wins over Utah, Sacramento, New Orleans, and Detroit.
Gafford (6-10 forward / center, El Dorado native) has been named the Pro Hoop Hogs Player of the Week, his fourth such honor in 2020-21. His best game production-wise last week came in the Wizards’ 117-115 overtime win over the Pelicans on Friday as he notched a season-high 18 points (7-of-11 field goals and 4-of-6 free throws) to go with 7 rebounds and 4 blocks (3 of those were against New Orleans star forward Zion Williamson) in 26 minutes.
“I’ve gotta protect home,” Gafford said of his shot-blocking and shot-altering following the win over New Orleans. “I can’t let nothing come inside and if it does, I can’t let it go down easy. I’m gonna have to foul you or block the shot, it’s as simple as that.”
Washington is 6-1 with Gafford in the lineup, and in those 7 games he averaged 11.1 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 2.1 blocks in 17.4 minutes per outing while playing off the bench.
Gafford, recipient of three PHH POW honors following week two of the ’20-21 season, has a Player Efficiency Rating of 20.67. Gafford has scored in double figures eight times in ’20-21, and he grabbed a career-high 11 rebounds just prior to being traded by the Bulls. On the season (31 games with Chicago, 7 games with Washington), Gafford is averaging 5.9 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks in 13.3 minutes per game while shooting 67.2% from the field and 65.1% from the free throw line. His per-36-minute numbers are 16.0 points, 10.3 rebounds, and 3.5 blocks. The Wizards are 23-33 and 5 games out of 8th place in the Eastern Conference.
Linked below are Gafford’s highlights against New Orleans on Friday …
* Former Arkansas star Bobby Portis (6-10 forward / center) helped the Milwaukee Bucks to a 2-1 record last week while averaging 10.0 points, 5.0 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and 1.0 steal in games against Minnesota, Atlanta, and Memphis. Portis is ranked 46th in the NBA with a Player Efficiency Rating of 19.40. He’s played in 52 games (with 6 starts) and is the Bucks’ fifth leading scorer and second leading rebounder, averaging 11.3 points, 7.1 rebounds (ranks 36th in the NBA), and 1.1 assists in 21.3 minutes per contest while shooting 52.2% from the field, including 46.8% from 3 (ranks 5th in the NBA), and 74.0% from the free throw line. His per-36-minute numbers are 19.1 points, 12.1 rebounds, 1.9 assists, and 1.3 steals. Portis entered this week with eight double-doubles in ’20-21, he’s scored in double figures in 32 games (including six games of 20 or more points), and he’s rebounded in double figures in 10 games. Milwaukee is 35-21 for the third-best record in the Eastern Conference
* Former Arkansas star Isaiah Joe (6-4 shooting guard, Fort Smith native) played only once last week, going 0-of-1 shooting from 3 with 1 rebound in 1 minute in the Philadelphia 76ers’ 113-95 win over Dallas on Monday, April 12. Joe has a Player Efficiency Rating of 8.19. His heaviest game action and best production came in January when in a consecutive-5-game stretch he started once and scored in double figures four times (including a career-high 18 points against Atlanta) while averaging 12.4 points, 2.2 rebounds, and 1.6 assists in 29.0 minutes per game as he shot 40.8% from the field, including 17-of-39 from 3 for 43.6%, and made 5-of-5 free throws. During the NBA all star break earlier in March, Joe excelled in the three-game G-League playoffs in Orlando, Fla., as he averaged 23.3 points, 3.7 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.3 steals, 43.8% field goal shooting (including 39.3% from 3), and 87.5% free throw shooting while leading the Delaware Blue Coats to the G-League title game. On the season in the NBA, Joe has played in 29 games for Philadelphia (39-17 for the best record in the Eastern Conference) and is averaging 3.3 points and 1.0 rebound in 9.8 minutes per game while shooting 33.7% from the field, including 33.3% from 3, and 88.9% from the free throw line. His per-36-minute numbers are 12.3 points, 3.7 rebounds, 2.2 assists, and 1.0 steal. Joe’s 8 steals are more than his 6 turnovers this season. Joe has won the PHH POW honor three times so far in ’20-21.
* Former Arkansas star Mason Jones (6-4 combo guard) played only once last week, going 0-of-1 shooting from 3 with in 1 minute in the Philadelphia 76ers’ 113-95 win over Dallas on Monday, April 12. Jones has a Player Efficiency Rating of 12.13, and he’s averaging 5.4 points, 1.8 rebounds, and 1.4 assists in 10.8 minutes per game while shooting 42.5% from the field, including 36.4% from 3, and 61.4% from the free throw line. Jones’ per-36-minute numbers are 18.1 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 4.6 assists. In 26 games with Houston, Jones scored in double figures five times, including a career-high 24 points against San Antonio in January. Jones has won the PHH POW honor once this season. Jones signed an undrafted free agent two-way contract with Houston in November, then the Rockets waived him in March before signing him to one 10-day contract followed by the Sixers signing him to a two-way deal.
* Former Arkansas star Patrick Beverley (6-1 guard) is out 3-4 weeks after suffering a hand injury that required surgery, and combined with a knee injury he has played only twice in the last five weeks. A two-time winner of the PHH POW honor, Beverley has started in all 31 games that he’s played in while having sat out 24 games for the Clippers (37-18 for the third-best record in the Western Conference). The three-time NBA All Defensive team honoree has a Player Efficiency Rating of 11.22. Beverley has season highs of 20 points (against San Antonio), 9 rebounds (against Phoenix), 8 assists (against San Antonio), 3 steals (against Oklahoma City), and 3 blocks (against Chicago). He’s averaging 8.0 points. 3.6 rebounds, and 2.1 assists in 23.4 minutes per game while shooting 43.2% from the field, including 41.6% from 3, and 80.5% from the free throw line. Beverley’s per-36-minute numbers are 12.4 points, 5.5 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 1.3 steals, and 1.2 blocks.