5. Daniel Gafford
The Brooklyn Nets already have Jarrett Allen entrenched as their rim protector and defensive anchor. However, Kenny Atkinson’s squad will most likely be losing backup center Ed Davis to free agency this offseason. If Brooklyn wants to add another high-energy big to come off the bench and replace Davis, it should look no further than Arkansas’ Daniel Gafford.
Gafford’s athleticism was on full display at last month’s NBA Draft Combine as he posted both the best standing max vertical leap (32.5″), and second-best three-quarters court sprint (3.25 seconds) among centers and power forwards.
The 6’11″ sophomore converted countless put-backs and alley-oops for the Razorbacks last year and plays with a relentless motor. Gafford’s inability to stretch the floor or create for himself may ultimately limit his ceiling at the next level, but he does all the little things you look for in a backup center: rebound, rim-run and defend the pick-and-roll.
The Nets are set to clash with Joel Embiid for years to come in the Atlantic Division and may be itching to add another interior defender after watching Embiid dominate them when healthy during their opening round playoff loss to the Philadelphia 76ers. Gafford would be a fairly safe pick that fills an immediate need at backup center and will help take some of the defensive responsibility and pressure away from Jarrett Allen.