The latest disappointing loss for the Los Angeles Lakers came against the Sacramento Kings as they have now dropped two straight after a season-long four-game winning streak. While there weren’t a lot of positive takeaways, likely the biggest came in the form of undrafted rookie Austin Reaves.
For the second consecutive game, Reaves set a new career-high, finishing with 19 points on 7-of-10 shooting including 4-of-7 from 3-point range. With the Lakers down in the fourth quarter, it was Reaves sparking the comeback as he, along with LeBron James and Malik Monk, brought the team to within a basket before they ultimately fell by nine to the Kings.
Reaves has proven time and time again that he should be an important part of the Lakers rotation moving forward, but lately, his offensive game has gone to an even greater level to which he gave credit to both his coaches and teammates.
“I think just sticking with the offensive scheme and playing with great players,” Reaves said. “They get most of the attention and if the ball comes to me just try to make the right play and knock down a shot, but hopefully, we’re trending in the right direction. But yeah, that’s what happens when you play with great players.”
Reaves went on to add that his confidence has continued to grow throughout the course of his rookie season.
“Yeah. Every time you see the ball go in you’re going to get confidence. My teammates and coaches have stayed on me all year about that even after tough shooting games they come to me and tell me, ‘Don’t stop shooting. If you are open, let it fly.’ I’ve got to give them a lot of the credit and like I said earlier, just do my job. Try to step up and make big shots and like I said, make the right play.”
Against the Kings, Reaves did his damage in a number of different ways. Not only was he hot from the perimeter, but he also made excellent reads off the ball to get some easy baskets as well as creating his own shot on some occasions as well. And none of that is to mention the defensive plays he made on numerous occasions that didn’t show up in the box score as well.
That two-way ability is what makes Reaves such an ideal fit next to the Lakers’ stars. Not only is he an offensive threat, but he more than holds his own defensively as well, which is great to see as many other role players thrive only on one side of the ball.
The Lakers are close to being completely healthy for the first time this season as both Anthony Davis and Kendrick Nunn look as if they will be suiting up soon. But regardless of who is available, Reaves continues to show that he should be in Frank Vogel’s rotation moving forward.
Ellington praises Reaves’ poise as a rookie
The ability and recent play of Reaves is not lost on anyone and he has received plenty of praise from all of his teammates. Veteran wing Wayne Ellington was the latest to compliment Reaves with focus on his poise for a rookie.
“He’s just a super poised player to begin with,” Ellington said. “He always plays the right way, makes the right play. He’s a hard-nosed guy, he’s going to defend. He’s going to do whatever you ask him to do. He can fit in on the court with anybody, that’s just who he is. As a person and as a player honestly.”
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