A slow start to the season for the Los Angeles Lakers has led to coach Darvin Ham shaking up the rotation to jumpstart their team. In Friday’s win against the Phoenix Suns, Ham opted to bring guard Austin Reaves off the bench in favor of Cam Reddish.
The Lakers bringing Reaves off the bench might seem like a demotion after his shaky start to the season. However, Ham has insisted otherwise, calling it a “realignment,” though he likely has to say that. Still, it’s not exactly unprecedented for coaches to shake things up by moving a key player to the bench to see how they respond.
Moving Austin Reaves to the bench could supercharge the Lakers’ offense.
In some cases, players thrive playing against other teams’ second units and not having to share the ball with the best players on their own team. A famous example was the San Antonio Spurs opting to bring Hall of Famer Manu Ginobili off the bench. After all, he had a similar skill set to fellow Hall of Famer Tony Parker and wasn’t as crucial as Tim Duncan, so he was moved to the bench.
Ginobili went on to win Sixth Man of the Year and while that may not be Reaves’ future or even his role going forward, Ham is right to tweak his rotation to see if different player combinations work out. At the moment, it seems as though Reddish will continue to start while Reaves serves as the Lakers’ sixth man but that may change depending on the matchup.
Against the Phoenix Suns, Reddish dropped 17 points, while Reaves chipped in 15 points and 7 assists in 35 minutes. Reaves will probably still play big minutes off the bench but will also likely play several minutes without LeBron James and Anthony Davis, giving him more opportunities to create.
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He hasn’t shot the ball well to start the season but having more free reign in short stretches might be just what he needs to get going and the Lakers could be better for giving him a new role.