Austin Reaves: Being Anthony Davis’ Teammate Makes Life Easier For Lakers
Austin Reaves, Anthony Davis, Lakers
Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers were led by another dominant performance from Anthony Davis on Sunday night. He finished with 36 points and 16 rebounds on 15-for-21 shooting as the Lakers defeated the Indiana Pacers, 150-145. Given the final score, it wasn’t surprising that three other Lakers finished with above 20, including 25 points from Austin Reaves.

Reaves and Davis have shared the floor a considerable amount together over the former’s three NBA seasons. In fact, they’ve played the most minutes of any two-man combination for the Lakers this season, averaging 26 minutes per game of shared floor time. And while they haven’t been the best statistically — -0.9 net rating — they are hugely efficient as a duo with a 60.7 true shooting percentage.

Reaves has only known what it’s like to play without Davis when the Lakers big man has been injured, but just from that, he knows that playing alongside the superstar makes everything flow better.

“I just enjoy being his teammate,” Reaves said. “Obviously he makes life so much easier for everybody on the court. But for me, I don’t want to say more than everybody, but it makes my life feel much easier when he’s out there on the court just because of his dominance of the game from both ends of the floor.

“You know you can be more aggressive on ball when you’re guarding the ball knowing that he’s weakside. And then offensively, with Bron and AD, those are probably the top two guys on everybody’s scouting report, so anytime you put them in actions and make defenses kind of second-guess getting back to them because that’s probably what you should do, it makes life easy. I don’t really expect anything less, he continues to do it over and over again.”

Above all else, Reaves wanted to be sure to credit Davis’ basketball IQ, as he feels it’s a part of his game that does not get talked about enough.

“Nah, they don’t,” Reaves said when asked if Davis gets enough credit for his IQ. “I think it’s IQ and feel. I think his feel for the game is close to second to none. Just knowing where rebounds are coming off, knowing how to get into the right pocket in pick-and-roll situations. Like you said, his IQ, that all kind of goes hand in hand, just knowing the game and knowing how people are gonna defend him and passing out of doubles, all that. So him doing all that is really nothing new to me.”

Reaves and Davis have a strong rapport after sharing the starting lineup for nearly three years. And they both do things to make life easier on one another, but Davis’ dominance is something that very few players in the league can replicate. And Reaves get to witness that first-hand each and every night.

Anthony Davis praises Spencer Dinwiddie

Davis, despite his own dominance, is quick to support his teammates. He recently did so with Spencer Dinwiddie, praising him for his ability to adjust to a new role so quickly.

“We constantly preach to him to be himself. Be Spencer Dinwiddie,” Davis said after the win. “Don’t be passive, you know trying to pass the ball and looking for guys. Obviously, that’s what he do. But at the same time, we want him to be aggressive if he’s open to shoot the ball, attacking the basket, finishing and you can tell he’s getting more and more comfortable and just playing basketball.

“So what he did tonight, we’re going to need from him these last 12 games that we have and then more but he’s starting to get comfortable as you saw tonight.”

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