If there was a sequence to describe the play of Los Angeles Lakers guard Austin Reaves, it happened against the Golden State Warriors on Thursday. On one end, Reaves hit an acrobatic layup to push the Lakers ahead. On the other side, he was hit in the face on an illegal screen that sent the ball back to the Lakers.
Reaves has evolved from an undrafted player to one of the more important players in purple and gold. His importance to the team was evident enough that the Lakers were unwilling to include Reaves in trade packages for Kyrie Irving.
Reaves had 17 points on 6-for-6 shooting in 19 minutes, playing a key role in the Lakers’ win against the Warriors. A surprising outing, it was his most efficient night of the year, not missing a field goal or free throw.
For Anthony Davis, however, nothing surprises him anymore when it comes to Reaves.
“No. At this point, he does it all,” Davis said of Reaves. “He shoots, he puts it on the floor, he playmakes, he’s tough physically. Nothing surprises me with Austin. He continues to get better and better each and every day,” he said. “He comes in and puts his work in and he’s just out there having fun. I know the time that he missed, he was pretty upset because he wants to be on the floor. And now he’s back on the floor and helping us win games so we’re definitely happy to have him back but the things he can do on the floor, he’s very talented. And he’s only gonna keep getting better so nothing surprises me.”
The Lakers’ stars have always had high praise for Reaves.
Davis has stayed consistent in this, saying earlier in the season that Reaves has been doing it all. LeBron James has a;sp been a fan of Reaves since last season, emphasizing Reaves’s ability to fit in with any lineup. The two even had an exchange turn into a viral meme last season.
As the season nears its end, the Lakers will need Reaves to step up as much as he can. His on-ball defense is crucial, but his shooting and playmaking open up the Lakers’ offense. Reaves is averaging career-highs in points, field goal percentage and 3-point percentage.
Austin Reaves says Lakers energy is at ‘all-time high’ since trade deadline
It’s a tale of two Lakers teams after the trade deadline. New acquisitions D’Angelo Russell, Malik Beasley, Jarred Vanderbilt, Mo Bamba and Davon Reed have injected new life into the Lakers side. The new energy seems to be gravitating throughout the locker room, something Reaves assessed after L.A.’s recent win.
“It’s a new energy with the new guys. Every one of them has brought something different to the team and like I said, the energy around the group is at an all-time high right now,” he said. “I think the playstyle that we got from the trades fits what we needed.”
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