Comparing NBA stars to Kentucky basketball players: Wenyen Gabriel

ATLANTA, GA - MARCH 22: Wenyen Gabriel
ATLANTA, GA - MARCH 22: Wenyen Gabriel /

The Kentucky basketball team will lose at least three, and possibly six players to the NBA Draft. It’s time for some NBA comparisons. Up next in the six-part series is Wenyen Gabriel.

The Wildcats will lose at least three, and as many as six players to this year’s NBA Draft. Part of what NBA general managers and scouts do, is make comparisons of incoming players to those who are already part of an NBA team. This is Part Four of a six-part series comparing current NBA stars to the Kentucky basketball who’ve declared for the 2018 NBA Draft. Wenyen Gabriel is today’s featured player.

Wenyen Gabriel, if he decides to keep his name in the draft, will not be a first-round pick. As it stands now, most mock drafts don’t even have Wenyen in the second-round. However, it only takes one GM to fall head over heels, and Gabriel possesses the type of skill set that NBA scouts are looking for. Of the current players in the NBA, Tony Snell may be the comparison to Wenyen Gabriel.

Tony Snell played three seasons for New Mexico before being drafted by the Chicago Bulls. The Bulls selected Snell with the 20th overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft. Snell started every game during his sophomore and junior seasons for the Lobos. Each season Snell increased his playing time, three-point percentage and scoring.

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Wenyen Gabriel, in his two seasons at UK, has done the same. Gabriel increased his points per game from 4.6 to  6.8. His three-point percentage also went up. Wenyen shot 31.7% from downtown during his freshman campaign. This past season, Gabriel knocked down almost 40% of his shots from behind the arc.

Gabriel, a likely three-and-D player in the NBA, is not at the same level Snell is defensively, but his length would allow him to grow into that role. Gabriel’s best bet is to return to Kentucky, but if he decides to keep his name in the draft, he could carve out a role for himself in the league.