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Reasons for and against Wenyen Gabriel staying in the NBA Draft

Will Wenyen Gabriel stay in the draft now that UK could have PJ Washington and Reid Travis next season?

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Second Round-Buffalo vs Kentucky Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

With PJ Washington returning to UK and Jarred Vanderbilt still yet to make his decision on the NBA Draft, it has been easy to forget about Wenyen Gabriel and the legitimate possibility of him leaving Kentucky for the NBA.

As the time for a decision looms down, we have enough crucial information to break down both why he should either return to school or stay in the NBA Draft.

Why he should go pro

While Gabriel has had his fair share of struggles throughout his two seasons at Kentucky, he came in as a potential one-and-done for a reason. Versatile forwards with great length and shooting ability are becoming the next goldmine for NBA teams.

Wenyen’s ability to shoot the 3-ball made him a valuable asset whenever he was on the floor, as it would at the next level. Gabriel has always had the ability to drive and be a proficient scorer around the rim, but hasn’t gotten the opportunity to show that at Kentucky.

This is the primary argument for his NBA readiness. Even if he’s not ready to play in the league next year, he can potentially spend time with an NBA team’s G-League affiliate.

Doing so has the benefits of being in an NBA organization while being coached and trained by a staff of the highest level. Not including that even G-League players get a decent salary.

There’s also Kentucky’s infamous issue of jam-packed rosters with clear surpluses of talent. Kentucky has already seen Sacha Killeya-Jones transfer because of this, and with PJ Washington and Nick Richards confirming their returns to UK, freshmen Keldon Johnson and EJ Montgomery coming in, and the top graduate transfer in the country Reid Travis heavily considering Kentucky Wenyen Gabriel might get as much playing time at Kentucky next season as he would on an NBA roster.

The case for returning to UK

Any argument for Gabriel returning to Kentucky will be based around his lack of productivity at Kentucky, the massive haul of forwards in this draft, and the fact that his role would be a vital one given his experience.

If Reid Travis were to go to Villanova, who’s strongly in the mix with Omari Spellman off to the NBA, Gabriel would be Kentucky’s most experienced if he returned.

This alone should give him an increase in playing time and opportunity on offense. Another year in school could only improve his draft stock, as it can’t get any lower as he is projected to go undrafted.

The amount of elite down low scorers on next season’s team means that Gabriel’s spacing could prove to be crucial to this team’s offense. A well balanced system led by Immanuel Quickley and Quade Green in the backcourt could open up more looks for Gabriel, which only means increased scoring productivity from the former 5-star recruit.