Darvin Ham: Austin Reaves Prides Himself On Being Two-Way Player For Lakers
Austin Reaves, Darvin Ham, Lakers
(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

Los Angeles Lakers guard Austin Reaves has shown improvements during his time with the team, developing into a reliable three-level scorer.

Reaves is more known for his offense than defense, but as L.A. missed perimeter defenders in Gabe Vincent and Jarred Vanderbilt due to injuries, Reaves has had to try to fill those shoes by guarding the first or second option of an opposing team. While it is incredibly hard to contain some of the league’s best scorers, it is admirable to see Reaves take the challenge.

Head coach Darvin Ham takes pride in running a defensive-oriented team and he is taking notice of the third-year guard taking on tough defensive matchups.

“Whether you’re tall, short, heavy set skinny, it doesn’t matter,” Ham said before the Lakers’ recent game against the Minnesota Timberwolves. “When you’re a competitor, you can make things work and he prides himself on being a two-way player, not just all offense. The way he competes, some of the plays he makes just covering for his teammates on the ball, his scrappiness, taking charges, whatever it involves. He’s competing at a high level and I think that has a lot to do with it. When guys see their teammates competing like that, fighting, maybe they don’t look the part, but he’s getting the results because he’s a high level competitor. So that tends to rub off. Both he and Rui have drawn some incredibly tough matchups but they don’t moan, they don’t complain, they just go out there and compete.”

As the Play-In Tournament nears and the Lakers seek a possible postseason berth, seeing Reaves ramp up his intensity is happening at the right time. The concern now is that his shooting is suffering by exerting more energy on defense, but hopefully, Ham can find that balance for his starting guard before the regular season ends.

Austin Reaves raves about Gabe Vincent’s impact

Thankfully for Austin Reaves, Gabe Vincent is back and is now taking some of the defensive workload off of him. While Vincent’s offense has yet to come back to fruition, his perimeter defense has stood out since returning to the lineup.

Getting the veteran guard before marching into the Play-In will be a great help, especially in matchups against athletic and quick guards. After only playing five games before his return, the 27-year-old immediately showed his defensive impact and Reaves raved about Vincent after L.A.’s recent win against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

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