Travis Wear Key in Fourth Quarter of L.A. Lakers Debut
A Huntington Beach native and lifelong Lakers fan, this game was a “dream come true” for Travis Wear.
Just one day after inking a 10-day contract with the Lakers, he scored seven points — all in the fourth quarter — and helped guide his hometown team to victory over San Antonio.
“I’ve been thinking of this moment for three years since I last played in the NBA,” Wear said. “I wasn’t really nervous. I just knew my role, came and played to the best of my ability, and then let fate take its course.”
Wear played his rookie season for the New York Knicks in 2014-15, but has since gone from a year in Spain to two with the Lakers’ NBA G League affiliate, the South Bay Lakers.
A sharpshooting big man for South Bay, Wear showed off his range on his first bucket, spotting up for a 3-pointer off an Isaiah Thomas kick-out.
“He was huge,” Julius Randle said. “He was big time. He made a lot of big plays down the stretch. Coach (Luke Walton) called (plays) out of timeouts for him, and he was coming down and knocking shots down.”
Wear, who played all 12 minutes of the final period, then hit one of his trademark pull-up jumpers with about five minutes left as the Lakers began to roll.
“He came in hungry,” Lonzo Ball said. “He came in ready to play. We’re a little short right now, so we needed some help and he definitely brought that help. Like I said, fresh of the plane, no excuses — he just came in and did his job.”
Ball played a part in Wear’s final basket. Down seven with just over four minutes left, the Lakers called a play that had Wear dart around a Kyle Kuzma screen.
Ball fired a perfectly timed pass and Wear sunk the clutch shot.
“Travis Wear was really big for us,” Walton said. “Not (only by) making shots — which was the main reason we brought him out here for — but (by) playing defense.”
Indeed, the 27-year-old held his own against one of the NBA’s most efficient isolation scorers, Rudy Gay.
The Spurs tried to clear out for Gay to go one-on-one against Wear, but the 11-year veteran shot just 1-of-4 against the South Bay call-up.
Wear credited his experiences with South Bay and the L.A. Lakers’ Summer League team for his easy transition into his debut with the purple and gold.
A G League all-star this season, Wear knew that he services could be required considering the Lakers were without injured wings Brandon Ingram and Josh Hart.
“I knew the team was shorthanded and thought it was a possibility,” Wear said. “Just came in and was ready.”