Lakers News: Austin Reaves Feels Much Better Physically This Season Than Last
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

In his second season with the Los Angeles Lakers, guard Austin Reaves has become a truly vital piece of the team’s rotation. Reaves is always one of the first players off the bench and often finds himself closing games because of his excellent all-around play.

With the Lakers fighting for playoff positioning, every player needs to be at their best for the team to succeed. Thankfully, Reaves is up to the task and feeling in excellent condition physically, which is a positive change from last season.

“I feel great,” Reaves said after the Lakers’ victory over the Memphis Grizzlies. “I’m probably a lot better than I did at this point last year. They speak about the rookie wall and I didn’t believe them when they talked to me about it. But definitely a thing.

“But coming into the second year with that one year of experience changes a lot. You do things differently. Get a lot more sleep, and just take care of your body a little better. But I feel really good right now. And you know, we’re playing well.”

That rookie experience obviously helped prepare Reaves for this season as he now knows what it takes to make it through an 82-game NBA season. One area that Reaves has been great this year is his efficiency as he is on the brink of joining the 50-40-90 club this season. When asked whether this was a case of self-improvement physically, mentally or in his overall skill level, Reaves believes it is a combination of all three.

“I think it’s all three of those things you said,” Reaves added. “I think a lot of people don’t understand the mental grind that 82 games is. So that’s definitely a thing. Physical, I did a lot of work in the offseason. Just to put myself in better condition.

“And then on top of that, I was in the gym. Took a couple of months, or a couple of weeks off right after the Denver game last year. But after that, I was in the gym every day just trying to get better. So all three of those components have helped me. Hopefully, I can continue to do this.”

Thanks to the injuries the Lakers have been dealing with, Darvin Ham has turned to Reaves to be more of a playmaker and he has been great in that role as well with at least seven assists in three of the Lakers’ last five games. But being a point guard is something that comes natural to Reaves. “As long as I can think back of my basketball career, I’ve enjoyed playing the point guard position,” Reaves noted. “I enjoy seeing everybody happy scoring the ball. So it hasn’t been too big of an adjustment.

“Obviously, when Bron and DLo come back, those guys are ball dominant. And you figured out, go back and figure out how to play to whatever can help us be successful. But like I said, I’ve always kind of played point guard for most of … I’ve always enjoyed playing point guard. So it hasn’t been much of like a change for me. Like you said, it’s opportunity. But you know, we want those guys back and that’s really it.”

Thankfully Reaves is so well-rounded that he can fit with any lineup and he will undoubtedly remain a big part of the Lakers going forward.

D’Angelo Russell set to return to Lakers’ lineup Friday vs. Raptors

One of those two important players is finally set to make his return to the Lakers’ lineup on Friday night as D’Angelo Russell will suit up for the team against the Toronto Raptors.

With his scoring and playmaking Russell will be a welcome addition as the Lakers continue to try and improve their positioning and potentially push themselves above the Play-In Tournament.

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