Austin Reaves Says ‘Nobody’s Checked Out’ As Lakers Still Hope For Success In 2021-22
Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers don’t give up on their hopes to turn things around this season. L.A. has lost seven of its last nine games, falling further behind the .500 mark with a 26-31 record.

But both Anthony Davis and LeBron James said recently the team feels uplifted thanks to spending some more time in the gym as well as the passing of last week’s trade deadline.

Lakers rookie Austin Reaves emphasized the attitude of the Purple and Gold’s veterans, who don’t want to capitulate despite adversity.

“It’s just the way they conduct themselves on and off the floor,” Reaves said. “Things haven’t gone the way we wanted it to go so far, but nobody’s checked out. Nobody’s like ‘aw screw this, let’s focus on next year’ or whatever. We’re really just trying to figure out what we can do to be successful. Like you said, vets that have done this for a long time.

“They know what it takes, they know we have what it takes to take that next step, which is really just figuring it out and putting it all together.”

Reaves is averaging 6.1 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 1.3 assists in his rookie season, making an impact as a hustle perimeter defender and a solid shooting option off the bench.

The 23-year-old said his role has evolved since the start of the season, as he has been constantly trying to adjust his game to the Lakers’ needs.

“I’m a realist to myself when I came in on my two-way contract,” Reaves said. “I wasn’t going to have the ball in my hands. I wasn’t going to be ball-dominant. So I was going to have to figure out all the ways that I could get on the court, first of all for me.

“First step was getting on the court and just providing the things all the things to stay on the court. Doing that and just continuing to play hard. Really just trying to close out the gaps that we have with all the guys that we have. We’ve got a lot of talent.

“Guys like me, AB, Stanley [Johnson], Malik [Monk] and Talen [Horton-Tucker]. We all do little things within the game that don’t show up on the stat sheet, but at the end of the day, if you are a basketball mind, they really help the game go smoothly … doing all those little things.”

Frank Vogel wants to get a win before All-Star break

The Lakers played one of their best game in Saturday’s loss to the Golden State Warriors, with James emphasizing the team’s “connectivity” that they had missed in the weeks before.

Similarly, head coach Frank Vogel said L.A. is going into this weekend’s All-Star break with a positive mindset—but hopes to get back in the win column before the season pauses for over a week.

“We got into the break on a positive note,” Vogel said. “We played well enough to win against Golden State, but it didn’t go our way, so the focus is just getting one win.”

The Lakers are playing the Utah Jazz on Wednesday in their last game before the All-Star Weekend.

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