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What should Lakers fans expect from Gabe Vincent?

We asked someone who wrote about Gabe Vincent when he was with the Heat for their thoughts on what he’ll bring to the Lakers.

Miami Heat v Boston Celtics - Game Two Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images

The biggest addition the Lakers made in NBA free agency was almost unquestionably their signing of Gabe Vincent to a three-year, $33 million contract. The former Miami Heat guard was a huge part of his former team’s run to the 2023 NBA Finals before becoming an unrestricted free agent, and he will reportedly be battling for the starting point guard spot with D’Angelo Russell in Los Angeles this year.

To help Lakers fans get a bit more familiar with Vincent’s game now that he is officially signed, I reached out to my friend Naveen Ganglani — a lifelong Heat fan and veteran basketball journalist for — to give us all a download on what to expect from Vincent.

Below is our Q and A.

What should Lakers fans expect to see from Gabe Vincent? What are his strengths and weaknesses at this stage of his career?

Ganglani: Lakers fans can expect to watch a player who will alternate between “Oh, my God, he’s incredible!” and “Okay, it’s time to bring in the reins a little bit.” Gabe Vincent is a streaky shooter. He’s reliable enough from deep where he’ll earn a consistent spot in the rotation and even play crunch time minutes in important games, but he can also have occasional bursts of bad rushed shot selection and missed open looks.

On the plus side he’s shown enough improvement in his penetration game off the dribble in recent years and now even utilizes a short floater against the better rim protectors in the league, which he can convert when given a runway to the paint. The formerly undrafted and now $33 million-richer talent has also improved as a playmaker, specifically when it comes to finding the roll man in ball screen actions. Vincent is hard-nosed on defense in the sense that he can be up in an opposing guard’s grill, forcing them to be either uncomfortable or mistake-prone, and knows how to position himself well off-ball in case he needs to provide help, particularly at the nail. At 6-foot-1, bigger wings and guards will be able to back him down and shoot over him, but not without a fight from the now-former Heat starting point guard, who went 20-10 as a starter for Miami in Playoff games.

Vincent also has two qualities that are tailor-made for this current Lakers team: he’s been in a bunch of tight late postseason battles and knows how to play off of two key cogs in an offensive dynamic. That means he knows how to take care of the ball and run an offense when a hard-fought contest reaches a competitive climax, and will position himself to complement the strengths of LeBron James and Anthony Davis, who like to attack in ways similar to Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo.

Austin Reaves is “HIM” in Los Angeles. But while it won’t happen all the time, there will be games where Vincent will be referred to as “Him” as well.

Were you surprised he was let go by the Heat? Was that primarily a financial decision or related to the possible Dame trade, or did the Heat just feel he was replaceable?

Ganglani: According to Miami’s reliable local beat reporters, Vincent was offered similar money by the Heat to what he would get in LA, but with one extra year in the contract. Understandably, he chose Purple and Gold. I don’t think that offer from Pat Riley and Co. was made because they didn’t feel Vincent was good enough to be financially rewarded — after all, he was the starting point guard when they made the Eastern Conference Finals and NBA Finals in back-to-back years — but given recent happenings, Damian Lillard was clearly the Heat’s top target once this offseason unfurled.

Miami is also still in a tricky situation cap space-wise. They got below the second apron only after trading Victor Oladipo’s contract. It seems like committing dollars both in terms of salary and the luxury tax to a player, who in their ideal world would be Lillard’s backup, didn’t make enough sense to pursue. It was a risk because at that point there was no guarantee Lillard would ask out, but now that he has, it feels like a risk that could pay off.

Is there anything else you think people should know about him, on or off the court?

Ganglani: Vincent is a great guy and seems to get along well with teammates. Kyle Lowry took him under his wing to the point that the veteran would send him text messages at halftime during games Lowry missed. The duo also spent time together during offseasons to work on their games. Also a fan of coffee, Vincent was often posted by Butler on his Instagram when they’d hang out off the court. Bam was also a huge fan of Gabe’s, so much so that Adebayo retweeted this writer’s post on Vincent’s free agency decision right after it was announced. The undrafted guys on the roster, particularly Caleb Martin, Max Strus, and Vincent, all shared a strong bond.

LeBron is going to admire Vincent’s mindset. He’s going to be James’ next Mario Chalmers, minus the lectures. Laker fans are going to enjoy watching his hustle, even if it means he gets hit on the face every so often. He’s going to convert big shots that make people say: “Wait, HE took and made that?” which can also go the opposite way. He will bring his teammates together. He won’t rebel against the head coach.

Oh, and he’s also got nice eyes.

A big thanks to Naveen for his insight, and if you’d like more NBA thoughts from him, you can follow him on Twitter at @naveenganglani.

You can follow Harrison on Twitter at @hmfaigen.

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