Lakers News: Alex Caruso Thinks Austin Reaves Is ‘Farther Along’ Than He Was As Rookie
(Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)

Austin Reaves seems to be following in the footsteps of Alex Caruso on the way to becoming the Los Angeles Lakers’ latest wonder story.

Just like Caruso in 2016, Reaves went undrafted in the 2021 NBA Draft and then made his way to the Lakers’ roster by signing a two-way deal with the franchise. L.A. upgraded the Oklahoma alum’s contract after he impressed during the Summer League and the 2021 preseason.

Caruso memorably became an irreplaceable part of the 2019-20 title-winning Lakers team, making a name for himself as one of the NBA’s best perimeter defenders. Meanwhile, Reaves has emerged as a dangerous sharpshooter who can make stops on the other end of the floor, even recently hitting a game-winner to beat the Dallas Mavericks in overtime.

Caruso has said he can see shades of himself in Reaves, adding the 23-year-old guard might have been farther along in his development than he was in his first seasons with the Lakers, via HoopsHype’s Bryan Kalbrosky:

“I’ve seen a little bit! It’s apparent now – I didn’t realize this when I was on the Lakers – but social media shows all of the Lakers highlights. [Laughs] I didn’t think that was true until I got another team. But he appears to be one of those good glue guys that winning teams need. I think he’s a lot farther along than I was during my first year in the league. I think we have the same mindset of getting better and working hard. Hopefully, he can stick around.”

Reaves has recently received high praise from Lakers assistant coach Phil Handy, who wrote on Instagram the guard “will be a special player” in the NBA.

Reaves in health and safety protocols

As the Lakers get set to take on the Bulls on Sunday night, it’s looking like Reaves will be unavailable unofrtunately after being placed in the NBA’s health and safety protocols on Friday.

It’s possible that he tests out before the game, but if not then he will miss the rematch against Caruso and the Bulls, who have been dealing with their own coronavirus (COVID-19) issues as of late as well.

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