When the Los Angeles Lakers signed Travis Wear to a 10-day contract almost two weeks ago, it wasn’t immediately clear what kind of impact the now-former South Bay Lakers forward could make in his G League call-up.
Wear was shooting 41.9 percent on 3-pointers with the affiliate, the sixth-highest percentage among players to take more than 200 threes in the G League this season. But plenty of G League veterans have seen their shot drop off against improved NBA defenses, and it was unknown if Wear would get the minutes necessary to figure out if he could make an impact.
Instead of languishing on the bench, the Lakers’ injury woes forced head coach Luke Walton to throw Wear in against the San Antonio Spurs for his first NBA game of the season, and the stretch-four delivered, scoring seven points on 50 percent shooting in 13 minutes to earn some more burn.
Since then, Wear is shooting 41.7 percent on threes and the Lakers are outscoring their opponents by a team-best 7.2 points per 100 possessions with Wear on the floor and getting outscored by one point per 100 possessions when he sits.
Some of that impact can likely get chalked up to small sample size, and though Walton also said he knew Wear was ready to contribute, the Lakers head coach commended him for also shining in other areas, via the team’s official Twitter account:
“Yeah, absolutely. I always knew he was going to stretch the floor for us. I’ve been around him long enough to know he’s going to do that consistently. But I expect him now to make plays for us defensively, I expect him now to get rebounds for us. He’s done a good job of earning that extra responsibility.”
Wear said the extra burn Walton is giving him has made him more comfortable in his place on the team as well, via the Lakers’ Twitter account:
“When you get your name called in the first half, the first quarter, you sense that their confidence in you is growing. I definitely feel myself with the ball in my hand a little bit more. More willing to make plays, create plays and hit shots. And at the same time, try to be one of the better defenders on the court.”
Wear, who is on his second of a maximum two 10-day contracts, has a few more days to show the Lakers all of those things before the team has to decide whether to sign him for the rest of the season or let him go back to the G League.
If the Lakers don’t sign Wear for the rest of the year, he would presumably return to South Bay for the playoffs and would be free to sign with any other NBA team.