How Austin Reaves became one of the NBA’s best role players

Austin Reaves #15 of the Los Angeles Lakers (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)
Austin Reaves #15 of the Los Angeles Lakers (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images) /

Austin Reaves did not catch the attention of many NBA scouts coming out of the University of Oklahoma, causing him to be undrafted. However, the Los Angeles Lakers signed Reaves and had him play for their summer league team in 2021.

Reaves impressed the front office enough to earn a fully guaranteed contract. Now he is one of the Lakers best role players and a key player in their rotation.

It is no secret with players like Lebron James and Anthony Davis on your roster. You need high IQ, and versatile players to play alongside them and complement their games.

During their 2020 Championship run, Alex Caruso was exactly that and was a huge reason to their championship success.

Austin Reaves serves as this team’s Caruso, and does a little bit of everything on the court, giving the Lakers’ lackluster roster a boost.

Reaves’ Versatility

Austin standing at 6’5 and 205 pounds has a solid frame on the perimeter. He can chase smaller guards around dribble handoffs, and pindown screens. As well as hold his own in the post, and bait offensive players into charges.

Offensively he has served as one of the Lakers most consistent shooters, shooting 39% from three and 91% from the free throw line. He and Lebron James play extremely well together, often finding each other on back door cuts, and fast breaks for easy scoring opportunities.

Reaves is averaging 10.8 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 2.1 assists per game, which are solid numbers for his role. However, his true value is shown through how he impacts the game regardless of the numbers.

Last year as a rookie, Reaves had the highest plus/minus on the Lakers Roster at +54, and has picked up right where he left off this year with a plus/minus total of +65. Reaves has given new head Coach Darwin Ham a security blanket off the bench, and has made a case for even more minutes.

This win-now trade sees the Toronto Raptors bolster their frontcourt. dark. Next

Reaves is currently nursing a sprained ankle. While the injury is being monitored on a day-to-day basis, he is hopeful to return to play during the Lakers’ upcoming road trip.