In the search to find the right rotations and players that give the Los Angeles Lakers the best chance to win, forward Wenyen Gabriel has emerged as a reliable, high-energy option off the bench. In fact, Gabriel has been the lone big man to get consistent minutes aside from Anthony Davis so far this season.
Gabriel’s motor and energy have been what has stood out most. He never stops moving and the effort he brings on both ends of the court is infectious. Additionally, he has built up a good rapport with Russell Westbrook, often finding himself on the receiving end of his passes. But now, unfortunately, the Lakers will have to make do without him.
According to Kyle Goon of the Southern California News Group, Gabriel will miss the remainder of the team’s six-game road trip with a shoulder injury and will be reevaluated in a week:
The Lakers update this: Wenyen will be out at least a week before being reevaluated. That puts him out of the remaining games of the road trip: CLE, TOR, PHI, DET. https://t.co/MGEV2eGh5F
— Kyle Goon (@kylegoon) December 6, 2022
This is obviously a tough blow for the Lakers, who have finally been at full strength for the last couple of games. Head coach Darvin Ham is finally figuring out the team’s ideal rotations and Gabriel always seems to make an impact when he’s on the floor.
In his absence, expect Thomas Bryant to get the first crack at those minutes off the bench. He is a bit bigger than Gabriel being more of a true center, but the work on the glass and the non-stop motor are very similar, as well as the ability to stretch the floor at times. Juan Toscano-Anderson could also be an option in more of the forward role as could rookie Max Christie.
Hopefully this will be just a minor setback for Gabriel, who has emerged as an important piece of this team and a young player trying to establish himself as a real NBA player moving forward. In the meantime, the Lakers will be forced to look elsewhere to get that energy boost off the bench.
Anthony Davis named Western Conference Player of the Week
Even though Gabriel has earned his spot in the rotation, he hasn’t been playing a ton of minutes and that is in large part because Anthony Davis has been on another level. Davis was named Western Conference Player of the Week after his unbelievable play this past week.
Davis averaged 37.8 points, 13 rebounds and 3.3 blocks in the Lakers’ four games, of which they won three. To end the week, Davis out-dueled two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo by finishing with 44 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks and followed that up with a ridiculous 55 points and 17 rebounds against the Washington Wizards.
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