Austin Reaves Believes Health Will Be Key For Lakers To Return To Playoffs
(Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)

The Los Angeles Lakers are hoping their injury woes are now a thing of the past after seeing their stars miss a huge number of games during the 2021-22 season.

Both LeBron James and Anthony Davis watched over 25 games from the sidelines last year, a major factor in the Lakers’ failure to qualify for the playoffs. It also torpedoed the Big 3 experiment as James and Davis lined up with Russell Westbrook only 21 times in 2021-22.

Meanwhile, Kendrick Nunn missed the entire season with a bone bruise in his knee.

Earlier in the summer, head coach Darvin Ham said he would show a particular caution in managing his All-Star’s workload during the 2022-23 campaign. Similarly, Austin Reaves identified health as the biggest factor in L.A.’s hopes of securing playoff basketball in an interview with The Athletic’s Shams Charania:

“Health is the main thing. I mean, you can’t really avoid some situations, like AD’s ankle injury last year. Just tough situations like that are hard. But, I mean, that’s the goal. The goal is to win every game we play. So we’re ready to get us started.”

None of the Lakers played in all 82 games last year. Westbrook proved to be the most durable player on the roster, making 78 appearances with James next one up at 56.

The Purple and Gold will need Davis in particular to remain healthy if they are to have any real chance of competing for the NBA championship in 2022-23. The 28-year-old has missed half of the regular-season games for two straight years now.

Not only Davis’ availability impacts James’ workload and, by extension, his health. Ham also wants to make the eight-time All-Star the focal point of his offense — which James appears to be fully on board with.

Reaves sets starting games for Lakers as his goal

Reaves enjoyed a fairly healthy 2021-22 campaign, playing in 61 games during his rookie year. The 24-year-old started 19 of them, further establishing himself as one of the few bright spots in the otherwise poor season for the Lakers.

And Reaves appears eager to build on his good performance, spending the majority of the summer in the gym to build form ahead of the 2022-23 season. The guard has recently said his goal is to be part of the Lakers’ starting lineup — although he will do his best regardless of the role Ham gives him.

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