The Sacramento Kings have gotten off to a fast start at MGM Resorts Summer League, winning two out of their first three games. A big contributor in the early success has been 22-year-old Wenyen Gabriel. The lengthy forward is averaging 12 points and 6.3 rebounds in 24.7 minutes per game for a Kings team that hopes to advance far into the tournament.
Gabriel set the tone early – before the action even began in Las Vegas – pouring in 22 points and grabbing 12 rebounds in a July 1st victory over the Golden State Warriors, his first game at the California Classic in Sacramento. During the three day event, Gabriel averaged 19 points and 8.5 rebounds on 54% shooting. His mixture of speed and strength left the defense struggling to hold him off, as the forward showed glimpses of his ultimate potential as an inside-out force who can stretch the floor at the NBA level.
Stockton Kings fans will recognize Gabriel from his part in the team’s successful 30-20 record in the G League during the 2018-19 season. He filled a variety of roles, ranging from starter to second-unit spark plug. Overall, he shot 49% from the floor and 36% from three-point range, averaging 10.1 points and 6.7 rebounds in 20.8 minutes per game.
Gabriel’s improvement during his time in the G League has been noteworthy. He played two years at the University of Kentucky and struggled for long stretches to contribute on offense. He averaged 6.8 points and 5.4 rebounds his sophomore year and went undrafted in 2018. His game has come a long way since then.
It seems as though he has found his groove. Gabriel signed a two-way contract with the Kings last summer, and spent a lot of time crafting his game in Stockton, California. Now, Gabriel remains active and involved on offense throughout entire games and never lets the defense off easy.
The forward’s play has put him in contention for a roster spot for the upcoming 2019-20 season. He has the ability to take over a game in a way few others can—generating dunks and layups up close and catching fire from behind the arc.
As the MGM Resorts Summer League continues on and the pressure intensifies, Gabriel will look to keep showing the basketball world his improvements to his game.