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Lakers officially pick up team option on Wenyen Gabriel

A late-season addition, Wenyen Gabriel showed enough in his short time with the Lakers for them to reportedly pick up his team option for 2022-23.

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Los Angeles Lakers v Denver Nuggets Photo by Bart Young/NBAE via Getty Images

Wenyen Gabriel may not have joined the Lakers until late into the season, but the impression he made was enough to earn him another season in the purple and gold. First reported by Jovan Buha of The Athletic, the Lakers picked up Gabriel’s team option for the 2022-23 season.

Even with his option picked up, Gabriel’s contract is still non-guaranteed for next season, per Bobby Marks of ESPN.

In terms of his box stats, Gabriel’s output was modest to say the least. He averaged 6.7 points and 4.3 rebounds on 50.5% shooting overall. He was a streaky 3-point shooter, hitting 26.1% of his shots from beyond the arc.

Despite his low counting averages, Gabriel’s impact was largely felt in the energy and effort departments, though some of that had to do with the unimpressive performances from his numerous past-their-prime teammates.

Gabriel’s aggressiveness was a double-edged sword, playing his way into just over 16.4 minutes per game late in the season with his hustle on both ends, but averaged a whopping 3.0 fouls during his limited run. Over a 36-minute starter’s workload, Gabriel was on pace to average an impossible 6.6 fouls per contest.

Late in the year, the Lakers gave Gabriel a nominal two-year contract, but effectively covered just the end of the 2021-22 season with an option for the 2022-23 campaign. It was a reward for his strong play and gave him the chance to remain with the same team across an off-season for the first time in his career. There are still many months left before the start of the NBA season, but the Lakers have given Gabriel some much-needed continuity to what has been an erratic start to his six-team career.

While Gabriel’s role is almost certainly likely to be reduced next season from the one he played late last year, there are still far worse options to have toward the end of the bench than a young, energetic, athletic forward, especially if he can make good on the few flashes he’s shown of an ability to stretch the floor.

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