After a bittersweet first season with the Los Angeles Lakers, Austin Reaves is hitting the gym early to make sure he can help L.A. bounce back from a disappointing 2021-22.
Reaves broke into the Lakers’ starting lineup during his debut campaign in a stunning development for a player who signed with L.A. as an undrafted free agent last summer. The Oklahoma product racked up 19 starts in 61 games, clocking in 23.2 minutes per night.
He averaged 7.3 points, 1.8 assists and 3.2 rebounds for the Purple and Gold, signing off with a 31-piece in the last matchup of the season. But while Reaves exceeded expectations, the Lakers as a team failed miserably — failing to qualify for the playoffs.
The 23-year-old took only a brief break from basketball after the regular season ended. Reaves said he’s been back in the gym for the last couple of weeks, building form alongside L.A.’s other young players.
“We’ve all been in the gym together, Stanley [Johnson], Talen [Horton-Tucker], Wenyen [Gabriel], Mason [Jones],” the Lakers guard told Lakers Nation. “Seeing a lot of them. Most of the workouts are more individuals, but we’re in the gym at the same time. So yeah, it’s been a good start to the summer so far.”
Reaves said the young Lakers have been in good spirits, eager to improve before the team’s veterans join them in training camp.
“The mood’s been great,” he said. “A lot of energy, a lot of, you know, just positivity to grow and get better every day.
“I mean, in the weight room, it’s basically the same thing. Everybody, you know, usually hit lifts before we go do individual workouts for 30-45 minutes. But the energy from when we get there to when we leave is the same. And, you know, it’s just honestly been a lot of fun.”
Reaves explains what qualities he expects from new Lakers head coach
According to latest reports, L.A. has signed Darvin Ham as their new head coach. Ham is known for his commanding voice and strong personality, seemingly meeting the expectations Reaves had for the new play-caller.
“Just someone that’s gonna put in the work every single day like all of us players do,” Reaves said of what qualities he wanted the next Lakers head coach to have, before Ham’s signing.
“That’s really all you can ask for in a coach, and then just being a guy that can do a little bit of both. Holding guys accountable and then, on the other end if, say, you miss a couple of shots, it’s not one that’s like ‘Oh, come on,’ like you’re basically done. You encourage them.
“But there’s a fine line in between that and I’m definitely not a coach, so I wouldn’t know how to do those things together. But, you know, someone that can really control situations and make good situations on the fly.”
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