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Austin Reaves: The Next Great Lakers Steal?

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Hillbilly Kobe

Los Angeles Lakers guard Austin Reaves originally didn’t stand out to Lakers fans in the 2021 NBA Draft, where he went undrafted. Despite facing adversity before his NBA career even started, Reaves has been able to make the most of the minutes that he has gotten in the preseason, to the point where he is making a legitimate case for getting role-player minutes.

With any team that features LeBron James, his guards need to be able to play defense and be able to spread the floor. Although it was only a small sample size, Reaves was able to do this at an elite level in the preseason. With an exception in their last two preseason games, Reaves shot the ball an astronomically high rate of 47% from the three-point line on almost four attempts a night.

The Lakers, in one aspect, have found a sharpshooter on their hands at the minimum. More importantly though is how well he is able to move defensively and the hustle that he shows on this end of the court as well. Within the video, there were multiple possessions where Reaves was able to guard almost every position on the court, and was able to create opportunities on the offensive end solely through his defensive capability.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Xx8DBOjhYk

Reaves’ ability to defend and spread the floor will be extremely valuable for the Lakers as the season progresses. This Lakers squad last season was ruined by the injury bug; LeBron James missed almost 40% of the regular season, and Anthony Davis missed 50%. The disturbing thing about this is that it seems the injury bug hasn’t left, and the season just started.

Los Angeles Lakers guard and forward Talen Horton-Tucker and Trevor Ariza will both have to miss multiple weeks due to a torn ligament in the right thumb and an ankle surgery. Although the Lakers do have depth, it would make a lot of sense for Lakers head coach Frank Vogel to give minutes to the young guard. Reaves’ skill set will fit right along with the personnel that the Lakers want alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

Already, it seems as if Reaves has already gained the trust from his superstar teammate. LeBron James, in an interview last week, spoke very highly of him, and hinted about the possibility of Reaves being able to last in the NBA for a very long time.

Such praise like this isn’t handed out just to every player. Reaves, if he can continue this type of play up, can be such a huge steal for the Los Angeles Lakers moving forward. It just depends on whether he is able to get minutes.

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