The Los Angeles Lakers, who are dealing with injury issues and had two open roster spots after waiving Corey Brewer, decided to call up Travis Wear from the South Bay Lakers, signing him to a 10-day contract.
It’s a move Wear’s G League teammate Scott Machado doesn’t think the Lakers will regret. “He stretches the floor, opens up the paint for you. That’s so important in today’s game,” Machado told LakersNation.com
“Guys can’t really leave him because if they help off of him you’re passing it straight to him and that’s a 3-pointer automatically. You can count it every time. I loved playing with Travis and I think Travis is definitely an NBA player.”
Wear, who averaged 16.7 points and 8.3 rebounds in the G League after getting cut by the Lakers during the preseason, has made his biggest impact with his shooting this season. He ranked third on the team in 3-point shooting (41.9 percent) on the season while taking 7.1 threes per game.
It was more than anyone but Josh Hart, who only played two game in South Bay.
“Excellent shooter,” South Bay Lakers veteran and all-time G League leader in made 3-pointers Andre Ingram said of Wear, although he feels like Wear brings more than just shooting ot the table.
“Travis is very skilled as well. He dribbles like a guard, handles like a guard, has moves like he’s a guard. You’re going to see a lot more from him than you think. A lot of people probably think he’s just a pick-and-pop four but he’s not. He’s very athletic, he’s good with his handle.”
Those well-rounded skills are probably why South Bay’s offense has been 4.8 points per 100 possessions better when Wear is in the game, but his issue has never been on that side of the floor.
The rub on Wear has always been the defensive side of the ball, where South Bay is 3.1 points per 100 possessions better when he sits. Although, that’s still good enough for South Bay to outscore teams by 6.5 points per 100 possessions while Wear plays, and 4.8 when he sits.
Because of those defensive issues, Wear’s value appears almost totally dependent on his shot. The stretch big man takes basically the same amount of field goals and plays almost the same number of minutes in South Bay’s wins and losses.
The only thing that really fluctuates between the two is his shooting. Wear has been scorching from behind the arc in South Bay wins (44.2 percent), but when he’s merely good (37.9 percent), they lose.
Still, that type of shooting is something the Lakers haven’t really gotten from any of their four-men this season, and for the second-worst 3-point shooting team in that league, that alone might make Wear worth a flyer.
He certainly seemed to be eager to make an impact in his first NBA shot since his rookie year with the New York Knicks, via the South Bay Lakers’ Twitter account:
“It was a little surreal. After playing with South Bay last year and half of this year so far, you know obviously the goal is to get up with the Los Angeles Lakers and for that to finally come true is a dream come true.”
Wear, an Orange County native who went to Mater Dei high school and said his parents, wife and some close friends would be in attendance for the Lakers’ next home game, cautioned he might face “a little learning curve” while readjusting to the NBA.
However, Wear is also excited for the chance to play for the team he grew up rooting for:
“It’s tough for words to describe that feeling. I grew up a huge Lakers fan in Huntington Beach, my father is a huge Lakers fan. To be able to wear that jersey after so many years of just being a huge fan and just loving that team, it’s a lot of hard work and a lot of years in the making.”
Wear, who Ingram called “an excellent teammate,” isn’t the only one who’s happy to finally see him get his NBA shot with his hometown team.
“He belongs there [in the NBA]. He’ll show what he can do,” Ingram said. “We’re just extremely excited for him.”