Ex-Bulls Role Players Thriving in New Home with Wizards

Ex-Bulls Role Players Thriving in New Home with Wizards
Daniel Gafford


Getty

Daniel Gafford calls for the basketball while being guarded by Isaiah Stewart in a March 27 game against the Detroit Pistons.

The Chicago Bulls parted ways with a number of players at the trade deadline, including Chandler Hutchison and Daniel Gafford, who were sent off to the Washington Wizards.

They yielded a strong return in Daniel Theis and Troy Brown Jr., two defensive minded players who are bound to play prominent roles in the team’s playoff push.

Their contributions are already being felt on the floor, but have yet to transcend that tier into a team-wide result. Chicago has lost back-to-back games since Thursday’s deadline.

But what the Bulls didn’t anticipate is both Hutchinson and Gafford thriving in their new home in Washington.


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A New Rim Defender in Washington

Gafford had to leave the Wizards’ Monday-night win early due to a right ankle sprain, but rest assured, he caught the attention of the Washington fan base in his time prior to his exit.

In the previous game, the 22-year old big went off for 15 points, five rebounds, and three blocks in his debut:

Highlights: Daniel Gafford’s Wizards debut vs. Pistons – 3/27/21Highlights from Daniel Gafford’s 13 points (5 rebounds) in 106-92 victory over the Pistons on Saturday night in D.C.2021-03-28T02:45:54Z

Before injuring his ankle on Monday night, he was on pace to top that performance.

Gafford walked off the floor with 11 points, six rebounds, and two blocks in just under 15 minutes played.

His arrival has provided some much needed rim protection in Washington, which is ironic, given that he was traded away from Chicago in exchange for what they felt was an upgrade in that department.

Daniel Theis has got more experience in big-time matchups, sure. But this version of Gafford likely isn’t the one the Chicago Bulls signed up to trade away on Thursday. Something to monitor.


Added Shot Making for the Wizards

The second piece to the Chicago Bulls trade with the Washington Wizards, Chandler Hutchison, looked rather spry in his Washington debut for a guy who hadn’t played since February 5th.

He scored 18 points in 25 minutes for Washington, knocking in two of his three attempts from deep.

It’s the most points Hutchinson’s scored since January of 2020. He benefited largely from new teammate Russell Westbrook’s historic night, in which the point guard recorded 21 assists in addition to 35 points and 15 rebounds.

Hutchinson commended Westbrook after the game, saying he might “owe him dinner” after all the assists.

Chicago’s 2018 second-round pick suited up in just seven games with the Bulls this season, a career-low. Now, he might be on the verge of a career revival in DC with the Washington Wizards.


The Chicago Bulls pulled the trigger on a number of deals at Thursday’s deadline, resulting in the arrival of a second All-Star talent finding his way to the Windy City.

If they don’t make the playoffs this season, will the front office have regrets?

Likely not.

But if Chandler Hutchison and Daniel Gafford become role players for another Eastern Conference playoff team in the Washington Wizards, that’s a lot of salt for the potential open wound.

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