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Daniel Gafford to Bulls: 2019 NBA Draft Scouting Profile and Analysis

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistJune 21, 2019

FAYETTEVILLE, AR - MARCH 9:  Daniel Gafford #10 of the Arkansas Razorbacks reacts after hitting a jump shot during a game against the Alabama Crimson Tide at Bud Walton Arena on March 9, 2019 in Fayetteville, Arkansas.  The Razorbacks defeated the Crimson Tide 82-70.  (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

 The Chicago Bulls selected Arkansas Razorbacks power forward Daniel Gafford with the No. 38 pick in the 2019 NBA draft Thursday night at the Barclays Center in New York City.

        

Gafford's Scouting Profile (h/t B/R's Jonathan Wasserman)

Offensive Strengths

Gafford is a strong finisher with a huge catch radius around the rim. He's improved his post game to become a solid back-to-the-basket scorer.

       

Offensive Weaknesses

He hasn't shown any signs of shooting touch or ball-handling. Assuming teams won't be running offense through him in the post, he'll be limited to basic finishing for scoring.

       

Defensive Outlook

He's a presence around the basket with his size (6'10½", 238 lbs) and length. His shot-blocking rate went in the wrong direction last year from 11.5 percent to 8.7 percent, though, and he doesn't possess any real switchability.

      

Projected role: Backup center

     

Gafford arrived at Arkansas as a highly touted 4-star prospect and the No. 39 overall player in the 2017 recruiting class, according to 247Sports' composite rankings.

The 20-year-old Arkansas native established himself as a reliable two-way contributor across a pair of seasons with the Razorbacks. He averaged 14.3 points, 7.4 rebounds and 2.1 blocks while shooting 63.5 percent from the field across 67 appearances at the collegiate level.

His draft stock has remained relatively stagnant, however, because he possesses a stretch 4 frame without the ability to knock down outside shots.

Gafford, who didn't attempt a single three in college, told Chris Dortch of NBA.com in March part of the reason he returned for a second year at Arkansas was to increase his offensive versatility, but it never came to fruition during the 2018-19 campaign.

"I wanted to work on my body and be more physical in the post," he said. "I wanted to move my game out to the free-throw line where I could attack the basket, and I wanted to work on my jump shot. But I didn't shoot that many jumpers this year, which was a disappointment to me."

So this is a developmental selection for the Bulls. He doesn't have prototypical size to play center consistently, though his shot-blocking ability could make him passable in a reserve role, and his long-term upside is heavily dependent on his three-point shooting.

Gafford could become one of the draft's biggest steals if he does develop a jumper, and that makes it worth taking a chance on him.

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