Lakers News: Austin Reaves Receives Votes For Most Overrated & Underrated In Player Poll
Austin Reaves, Lakers
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

The emergence of Austin Reaves is arguably the biggest post-All-Star Break storyline for the Los Angeles Lakers. Reaves averaged 17 points per game in March, including a 35-point game in 30 minutes against the Orlando Magic. He continued that success to close the regular season, averaging 20 points in the final five games.

What changed the most for Reaves was his aggression with the ball and ability to find his shot. Reaves began attacking the basket more too, drawing fouls and consistently heading to the free-throw line. It’s a trait he said he learned by studying James Harden and Trae Young.

His improvement slotted him next to LeBron James, Anthony Davis, D’Angelo Russell and Jarred Vanderbilt in the starting lineup, adding an extra playmaker and scorer. So far, it’s done wonders — the Lakers finished the regular season 8-2 after Reaves moved in as a starter and are continuing that success into the postseason.

However, for all his successes and rejuvenation for the Lakers, NBA players still have mixed feelings about Reaves.

In The Athletic’s recent Anonymous NBA Player Poll, Reaves earned votes for both the most overrated and underrated player. He earned 3.7% of votes for the most overrated player and just 2.1% for the most underrated player, both totals that were near the bottom of the chart. Reaves joined five other players who received votes for both categories — Deandre Ayton, Tobias Harris, Jaren Jackson Jr., Damian Lillard and Nikola Vučević.

Every other player on the list has either been a high draft pick and in the league for multiple seasons or reached their ceiling as a player. Reaves fits into neither of those categories. It’s a bizarre place to be for him since he’s an undrafted player in the second year of his career.

Whether Reaves is overrated or not, it’s no secret that he will command a huge market this offseason when he’s a free agent. The Lakers and Reaves share a mutual interest in securing a deal but the most the Lakers can offer him is a four-year, $50.8 million contract if they chose to use his Early Bird rights. However, L.A. can match any contract Reaves signs with another team.

Westbrook and Beverley want rings if Lakers win championship

The Lakers’ turnaround this season has been so impressive that they are now considered by many to be legit title contenders. And if they are able to win it all, two of their former players that were traded mid-season, Russell Westbrook and Patrick Beverley, have made it clear that they want championship rings.

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