Lakers News: Austin Reaves’ Mindset Didn’t Change Despite Being Inserted Into Starting Lineup
Austin Reaves, Lakers
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Lakers head coach Darvin Ham employed a change to the starting lineup on Wednesday night in order to help combat the team’s recent run of slow starts. Coming off a career night, Austin Reaves moved into the opening lineup with Malik Beasley coming off the bench.

Ultimately the move worked as they never fell behind by any large margin and eventually came away with an 11-point win over the Phoenix Suns. Reaves played a big part in the victory, finishing with 25 points and 11 assists while continuing his run of drawing free throws with a game-high 13 attempts.

And his continued strong play at least somewhat came as a result of maintaining his same mindset despite moving into the starting lineup.

“[Darvin Ham] pulled me aside yesterday after practice and told me that I would be starting,” Reaves said after the game. “But for me, it’s really the same mindset going into every game.

“And it’s win it all costs when that’s all that really matters. So there’s not much difference starting not starting from me. It’s really just go out and play basketball the way that I always have and the way that I love.”

Reaves’ play is helping the Lakers maintain their spot in the Play-In Tournament, but the race remains extremely tight. Every game counts, but Reaves is embracing the pressure of this upcoming final stretch. “I think it’s basically the same as it has been the last couple of games or last couple of weeks for us,” Reaves noted. “Obviously, we don’t want to be in this position, we’d like to be, you know, first in the league. But this is the position that we’re in.

“And it’s really about us, like if we go and take care of our business, lock into the coaching staff, the scouting report and all that. The talent we have is, we have a lot of talent. And I feel like we can win against anybody. So there’s going to be hectic, but this is why you play the game. You want high-pressure moments and you really want to play under the lights.”

That mindset of wanting to be in those high-pressure situations is what separates Reaves from so many others. And the pressure remains even higher with LeBron James still out due to injury, and Reaves admitted he has tried to raise his aggression as of late.

“Yeah, I mean, since Bron has been out, we’ve had to have multiple guys do what he does because he does everything on the court,” Reaves said. “I’ve been trying to be more aggressive. Offensively, both ways, getting teammates involved and then also scoring, getting to the line. So it’s really just been going back and playing basketball the way that I love the way that I’ve always played, you know, having fun with it.”

Reaves has been performing at an unbelievable level lately, averaging 18.4 points and 5.8 assists over the last 10 games. He has proven to be a vital piece of the Lakers’ success and the team has needed every bit of what he has given them during this run.

Lakers, Austin Reaves have mutual interest in re-signing this offseason

Reaves is also picking the right time to play the best basketball of his career as he is set to his free agency this summer and will undoubtedly have a lot of teams interested in bringing him in.

But the Lakers definitely want to bring him back and recent reports suggest there is mutual interest from both sides in that happening. Reaves is a restricted free agent so the Lakers can match any offer he receives in free agency. The max offer the Lakers could make to the young guard would be a four-year, $50.8 million contract using Reaves’ Early Bird Rights.

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