The Los Angeles Lakers made an intriguing signing by bringing Wenyen Gabriel in during the season.
Gabriel seems to have skills that could help L.A. in some of its weaker areas. The 24-year-old can offer athleticism and energy on both sides of the floor, guard bigger opponents as a 6-foot-9 forward, and shoot the ball from beyond the arc.
The Lakers have been extensively evaluating Gabriel over the last week. The Kentucky product clocked in 14.6 minutes per game against the Washington Wizards, Phoenix Suns, and Toronto Raptors — more than the 11.5 minutes he averages in his career.
That’s also nearly double the 7.7 minutes per night he had played for the L.A. Clippers during a six-game stint earlier in 2021-22.
So far, Talen Horton-Tucker likes how the big man fits with the Purple and Gold.
“He’s great. Him coming in, not being here pretty much all year, so for him to come in and play hard like that is something that we needed, especially with him being a five and pretty much the only true big out there. Kudos to him,” Horton-Tucker said after the 114-103 loss to the Raptors.
Gabriel was L.A.’s backup to LeBron James at the five that night, as Dwight Howard missed the game due to a family emergency.
Frank Vogel likes Gabriel’s hustle and energy
Gabriel shot 1-for-8 against the Raptors but made an impact on the glass, grabbing nine boards and getting a block in a 19-minute shift for L.A. Despite an off shooting night, head coach Frank Vogel praised the forward for his hustle.
“I like the energy that Wenyen brings to our team,” he said.
“He plays super hard and has a pure attitude and is long and athletic. We need that type of length and athleticism at the forward position. He’s a little bit green in terms of being a young player, but definitely love his energy even though he didn’t make shots tonight.”
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