One of the biggest revelations of the season for the Los Angeles Lakers has been the growth of undrafted second-year guard Austin Reaves. Reaves has grown in every facet of the game this season, becoming one of the most critical and reliable members of the rotation.
After the trade deadline, Reaves was at an entirely different level, ultimately moving into the starting lineup full-time late in the year. But for the majority of the year, he was a reserve coming off the Lakers bench and that qualified him for the NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award.
While the Lakers guard didn’t win, with the award going to Malcolm Brogdon of the Boston Celtics, Reaves did receive votes and ultimately finished seventh overall for the award, via Brett Siegel of Sports Illustrated:
Full voting results for Sixth Man of the Year: pic.twitter.com/KVDkm8d98A
— Brett Siegel (@BrettSiegelNBA) April 20, 2023
Obviously Reaves was never going to win this award as he wasn’t even the sixth man for the Lakers for the first half of the season. That role went to Russell Westbrook, who did receive a singular third-place vote for the award as well.
But Reaves getting recognition for his contributions to this Lakers team is well deserved. He actually received one second-place vote and six third-place votes, finishing with nine points overall. Brogdon won the award with 60 first-place votes and 408 points overall while New York Knicks guard Immanuel Quickley was second with 34 first-place votes and 326 points.
Nonetheless, Reaves has been absolutely sensational for the Lakers this season. Overall, he averaged 13.0 points, 3.0 rebounds and 3.4 assists but after the All-Star Break those numbers jumped to 17.8 points, 3.1 rebounds and 5.5 assists while shooting 57.8% from the field and 44.3% from 3-point range.
The question now will be what kind of contract Reaves will garner in free agency. He will be a restricted free agent this summer and has been open about his desire to remain with the Lakers moving forward. But he will surely have a lot of suitors following his excellent second season and as the voting for this award shows, it has gotten the attention of many around the league.
Austin Reaves looking forward to Lakers’ home atmosphere in Game 3 vs. Grizzlies
Reaves has continued his strong play in the postseason so far, particularly in Game 1 when he carried the Lakers down the stretch to pick up a road win over the Memphis Grizzlies. Now heading back to L.A. with the series tied 1-1, Reaves is looking forward to that home atmosphere inside the Crypto.com Arena.
Reaves noted that the Lakers put themselves in a good position by taking a game on the road and that he can’t wait to be in front of that home crowd when things tip off Saturday night for Game 3.
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