Wenyen Gabriel played his best game in a Los Angeles Lakers jersey on Friday, helping L.A. beat the Washington Wizards 122-109.
Gabriel signed on a two-way contract and featured in two games for the Lakers before the clash with the Wizards, clocking in about three minutes per night.
But on Friday, head coach Frank Vogel kept the 24-year-old on the court for nearly 13 minutes. The forward ended the night with five points and four rebounds, shooting 2-for-5 (40%) from the field and 1-for-2 (50%) from downtown.
After the game, Vogel suggested Gabriel could receive more chances to prove his value in the games to come.
“Wenyen is someone that we’re intrigued with,” the head coach said. “He’s got an interesting skill set, he’s very young and inexperienced so as a coach with a veteran group, you’re a little bit nervous about it, but we wanted to see what he can do and this is a game that we felt we could throw him in there and just evaluate.
“He’s got the ability to shoot the three, credit to him for having the guts to step up and make a big three during that stretch and obviously he can play as a roller and he’s got great length defensively that he can switch or play in coverage against the other team’s big so he’s interesting to us and we’re gonna spend some time here putting him in there and evaluating.”
Gabriel played in six games for the L.A. Clippers and made one appearance for the Brooklyn Nets before signing with the Lakers this season. He averages 2.6 points and 2.1 rebounds, shooting 40.8% from the field and 37.1% from beyond the arc in his career.
Gabriel leans on previous connections to make quick impact for Lakers
Gabriel has shared the court with Malik Monk at Kentucky in college as well as Trevor Ariza and Carmelo Anthony during his time with the Portland Trail Blazers.
The young forward said it was “welcoming” to see familiar faces upon joining the Lakers. Gabriel also said Ariza took him under his wing during their time in Portland.
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