There are very few true positives that will be taken away from this Los Angeles Lakers season that will go down as maybe the worst in franchise history. But without a doubt, one that nobody saw coming at the beginning of the season was the emergence of undrafted guard Austin Reaves.
Reaves was originally signed to a two-way contract after a good Summer League showing, but that deal was converted into a standard contract before training camp began. Even then, Reaves was expected to see few minutes outside of garbage time with so many future Hall of Famers and established NBA veterans on this Lakers team.
But thanks to injuries, Reaves got an early opportunity and he would take that and grow into one of the Lakers’ most reliable role players. Now going into his first full NBA offseason, Reaves plans to do everything he can to improve himself in every way.
“Gonna take a little bit of time off now,” Reaves said in his Lakers exit interview. “But I’ll get back to work soon and take this summer real serious. Work on myself, work on my body, work on my game as well and just try to get as good as I can get.”
Filling out his body and adding a little muscle to help deal with some of the bigger wings of the league is definitely something that could help Reaves. He had an outstanding rookie season, but he also realizes that he has plenty of room to grow.
One area where he showed promise in his unbelievable season-ending triple-double performance is his ability to be a primary creator with the ball in his hands and that is something he sees himself doing more of in the future for this Lakers team.
“Yea for sure. I always want to grow and get better and continue to make strides forward and having the ball in my hands a little bit being able to make plays,” Reaves added. “But at the end of the day I realize that we got guys on the team so I do what it takes to help the team be successful. If that means be on-ball, be off-ball, those types of things like plug-and-play guy, defensive guy, whatever it is that I can do to help our team be successful is what I’ll do.”
What makes Reaves such an ideal role player is not just his ability to do these things, but the fact that he fully embraces whatever role will help the team succeed. Regardless of who the Lakers add this offseason, Reaves will be able to find a way to contribute next season.
Reaves thankful for support and praise from Lakers teammates
For an undrafted rookie like Reaves to be on a team with multiple Hall of Famers is something no one could dream of, but Reaves not only thrived, he was embraced by his Lakers teammates and for that he is thankful.
“Like I said last night, to have them support me the way that they support me is special,” Reaves said. “And I like to think that over this last year I’ve gained their trust and respect and like I said it’s just special. You couldn’t even write it better in a book. It’s really a dream come true.”
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