When the Los Angeles Lakers needed excitement in another otherwise lost year, Wenyen Gabriel provided that source of energy after his dynamic play towards the end of the 2021-22 season.
In 19 games played for the Lakers, Gabriel averaged 6.7 points and 4.3 rebounds after signing a two-way contract in March. He eventially proved himself worthy for a standard minimum contact that was inked in April, just before the end of the regular season. That contract included a team option for the 2022-23 season.
With the remarkable play the 6-foot-9-inch forward demonstrated, The Lakers have decided to pick up that team option on Gabriel for the 2022-23 NBA season, via Keith Smith of Spotrac:
The Los Angeles Lakers have exercised their $1.9M team option for Wenyen Gabriel and their $2.4M team option for Stanley Johnson, a league source tells @spotrac.
— Keith Smith (@KeithSmithNBA) June 29, 2022
The need for youth and floor-spacing power forwards enticed the Lakers to bring Gabriel back to the roster. With the potential Gabriel showed throughout last season and the philosophy head coach Darvin Ham has envisioned, he could be in for an even bigger role this season.
Rob Pelinka has noticed the work ethic Gabriel and other young players like Austin Reaves and Stanley Johnson have put in this offseason despite previous uncertainty of their return.
Seeing the Lakers improve their physical shape and basketball skills with Ham at the team practice facility can bring confidence to Laker fans who want to see the young core be a great supporting cast to LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
Lakers expected to run four-out offense
One of the noteworthy points from Ham’s introductory press conference is that he revealed he plans to run a four-out, one-in offense.
With that being the case, Gabriel’s outside shooting could be an asset to the Lakers as a big that can stretch the floor. Gabriel is not a knockdown shooter by any means, but if he can improve his jumper a bit then his playing time could increase with Ham at the helm.
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