Height/Weight: 6’11, 244 lbs.
Daniel Gafford has an elite wingspan, which gives him an advantage on the block where he thrives at finishing. His athleticism also gives him an advantage against slower opponents. He has the intangibles to become an elite rim protector at the next level as he improves his timing. He relies on his athleticism on defense and he makes elite plays to swing momentum when he is the rim protector.
Gafford has solid hands and is nowhere near fulfilling his potential. His ceiling is so high with his athleticism and motor he could become a lottery pick. He’s almost 7 foot, but moves down the court like a small forward. When scoring on the move, the sophomore catches amazing lobs and moves well without the ball.
Gafford’s athleticism gives him the potential to become an elite two-way player at the next level as he progresses in the association. His interior defense might be the best in the upcoming draft. His athleticism and instincts has helped his stock tremendously.
Daniel Gafford is a high IQ player who does a great job of communicating on both sides of the ball. He’s the leader on this young Arkansas team and helps direct where players should be. He even directs where passes should go to create space for others and even help himself to get the ball once he has good post position on the block.
Gafford is elite as an interior defender, but on the perimeter his defense could use a lot of work. He depends on his athleticism to close that separation and make the difference for him defensively. But guarding the perimeter is an instinctive battle.
His shooting on the block and finishing around the rim is elite, however for Gafford to improve as an offensive threat outside the block he must expand his shooting ability and improve his free throw shooting. His ceiling once he develops his stretch big ability will elevate into a class of his own.
Daniel Gafford has the potential to become one of the best rim protectors in the NBA in the next three years. But if he does not develop his shot instead of becoming a Joel Embiid-esque player, he could become a DeAndre Jordan clone.
As of right now, I can see him falling in the 15-20 range with potential to climb into the late lottery. That’s about where he would’ve gone last year, but don’t be surprised if he’s picked earlier this year given the lack of elite talent at the 5 position in this draft.