Building the perfect complementary piece for the Toronto Raptors' young core

Toronto has a solid batch of talented young players, but they are arguably missing a key player with the intangibles to help elevate the franchise's future.
Boston Celtics v Toronto Raptors
Boston Celtics v Toronto Raptors / Cole Burston/GettyImages
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1. Daniel Gafford's paint presence and hustle

Daniel Gafford is one of the most underrated players across the entire NBA. Before he began catching steam post-Dallas trade, Gafford had long been a solid backup and occasional starter with the Washington Wizards and Chicago Bulls. The thing about DG is, that no matter what role you put him in, he will always provide you with more than sufficient results. Gafford doesn't stand out as a physical specimen center at only 6'10" and 234 lbs, but DG plays at a level that could convince viewers he's huge otherwise.

Gafford's game is very bully-ball oriented, as he's more than willing to impose his strength on other centers across the league and cement himself as a dominant force despite not being the biggest guy out there. Gafford's archetype is almost a hybrid of guys like Kevon Looney and JaVale McGee, two centers who may not necessarily be freaks of nature but can surprise opposing bigs with their presence.

Where DG lacks in his ability to space the floor, he makes up for it in his ridiculous efficiency at the rim, as he's been averaging an impressive 75.6 percent from the field as a member of the Dallas Mavericks. Across the entire league, Gafford prevails as the season leader in overall field goal percentage at 71.4 percent.

Gafford's constant hustle and interior presence have elevated his Dallas Mavericks team to another level defensively. He secured the starting center role from rookie Dereck Lively II and is performing at an efficient and impactful rate on a night-to-night basis.

If the Toronto Raptors had a Daniel Gafford-esque player with that same grit, determination, and hustle, that player would be largely instrumental to playoff success. There's a reason Dallas made a move for Gafford, he's so important to a potentially deep playoff run. You can't always have a star center, but how do you oppose a star center? By having a guy on your roster who's willing to take them head-on.

Just look at what Kevon Looney did to Domantas Sabonis in the playoff last year. Gafford's style of play is no different, and the Raptors would be blessed to have DG-like qualities in a complementary piece player.

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