Analyst Lists Bulls as ‘Ideal Landing Spot’ for Former Lakers Big Man

Chicago Bulls

Getty Wenyen Gabriel #35 of the Los Angeles Lakers.

One of the most common knocks about the Chicago Bulls’ roster has been the lack of size at the forward spots. Specifically, the kind of bigger-bodied forwards who would thrive in small-ball lineups.

Their depth at center is also questionable with unproven Marko Simonovic gone, leaving them with only starter Nikola Vucevic and backup Andre Drummond ahead of rookie Adama Sanogo.

“The Chicago Bulls really only have two true bigs on the roster in Nikola Vučević and Andre Drummond,” wrote Andy Bailey of Bleacher Report on September 14. “And while the 6’9″, 205-pound Wenyen Gabriel may not quite be that, he can provide a little more length inside than Chicago currently has.”

Bailey lists the Bulls as the “ideal landing spot” for the Gabriel.

Gabriel set several career-high marks with the Lakers last season. He averaged 5.4 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 0.5 blocks while tying career-highs in assists and steals. Gabriel’s 68 appearances last season were also a new high with the former undrafted free agent also drawing two starts.

Gabriel signed with the Sacramento Kings out of college in 2018 and has spent time with the Brooklyn Nets, LA Clippers, New Orleans Pelicans, and Portland Trail Blazers.

“After playing fewer than 400 minutes in each of his first three NBA seasons, the 26-year-old had a mini-breakout in 2022-23,” Bailey continued. “As a rim-runner and hustle guy who can soak up some spot minutes at the 4 or 5, Gabriel could swing a few random quarters over the course of a season.”

The Bulls were 4-7 in games decided by three points or less last season, per stats.

Gabriel played for South Sudan in the 2023 FIBA World Cup, teaming with Bulls guard Carlik Jones. Chicago would need to cut someone to make room to sign Gabriel or anyone else with their roster currently full.

Bulls New Additions Primed for Major Roles

Swinging an additional quarter in their favor could do wonders for Chicago, though they are not counting on a journeyman reserve to raise their floor. The Bulls were aggressive this offseason adding players they believe will help them solidify their position in the Eastern Conference.

Adding Torrey Craig, in particular, could make Gabriel – or what he could bring – less than one might assume.

“The Bulls targeted Torrey Craig this summer for … two reasons,” wrote Zach Buckley of Bleacher Report on August 17. “He is versatile and tireless at [the defensive] end. … Second, he ramped up his outside shooting this past season and wound up with career highs in makes (1.3 per game) and accuracy (39.5).”

It’s not just Craig since, with Jevon Carter on board, there will be fewer minutes at guard for Alex Caruso there. But head coach Billy Donovan is not shy about putting the 6-foot-5 defensive ace in at power forward, sapping some of the minutes Gabriel would figure to play.

Patrick Williams Diminishes Need for Wenyen Gabriel

That hypothetical playing time gets reduced even more by the presence of Patrick Williams, who opened last season as the starter and figures to get the first crack at it this season.

Williams played well off the bench last season, though.

Gabriel would likely be the third power forward and could be as low as fourth in the center rotation when Sanogo is with the team which hardly makes him a priority for the Bulls’ front office.

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