The Los Angeles Lakers have greatly improved their depth across the board, but if there’s one area they are lacking it is in the size department. With Mo Bamba out due to an ankle injury, the only big man Darvin Ham has at his disposal outside of superstar Anthony Davis is Wenyen Gabriel.
Gabriel is not the typical big man, lacking the strength to deal with some of the true bigs the NBA has to offer. But he’s been making up for it with his non-stop energy, intensity and overall activity. The versatility of Davis has also allowed Ham to pair the two Lakers bigs together at times and it is something Ham has enjoyed seeing when he does so.
“They’ve been great,” Ham said about the duo. “Just the energy and activity of Wenyen, his ability to rebound, defend, he can move his feet to defend laterally and vertically, his ability to catch and finish and come up with 50/50 balls. He’s really been a huge presence on the offensive glass, and he plays the right way.
“He supports AD, if AD goes after a block, [Wenyen] is able to caress the rebound and vice versa. AD doesn’t have to hunt down every attempted shot at the rim when he and Wenyen are out there together. They’re tag-teaming those responsibilities of taking care of the most important guy with baseline help. They have a great synergy together and it’s proven to be very successful recently.”
Being able to go to a lineup where Davis isn’t the only big undoubtedly helps the Lakers both defensively and on the glass. As Ham pointed out, it allows Davis to alter shots at the rim while still having someone there to clean up the rebounds which is always a concern.
Lineup versatility is extremely important in today’s NBA. The ability to play big or small, up-tempo or halfcourt, more shooting or more of a defensive lineup, gives Ham the ability to match-up with whoever the Lakers are facing. The fact that Davis and Gabriel have that chemistry to be able to share the floor together simply gives Ham something he can turn to on the right night which is extremely important down the stretch of this season.
Draymond Green believes Lakers are a ‘serious threat’ if they make the playoffs
That ability to play any style while also having two of the best players in the NBA in Davis and LeBron James makes the Lakers a team capable of hanging with anyone on any night. At their best, they are a dangerous team and Golden State Warriors star Draymond Green agrees.
In the latest episode of his podcast, Green noted that he doesn’t care about the records. He believes if the Lakers make the playoffs they are a ‘serious threat’ to anyone they are matched up with.
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