Lakers News: Austin Reaves Enjoyed First Postseason Experience & Is Hungry To Get Back
Austin Reaves, Lakers
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Even though the Los Angeles Lakers came up short against the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference Finals, this playoff run was still a revelation for second-year guard Austin Reaves. Many questioned whether he could continue to play as well as he did down the stretch of the regular season in the postseason, but he proved he is here to stay.

And for the Lakers as a whole, this run was a far cry from where they were at the beginning of the season. When the team started 2-10, many felt they wouldn’t even make the playoffs and could even gift the New Orleans Pelicans a top draft pick. But the Lakers turned things around because they continued to work and that is something that Reaves discussed when he was asked what he learned this season.

“Oh, man, I learned a lot,” he said. “First and foremost, just never give up on the process. 2-10 at the [start] of the year. Had a lot of downs obviously; the last two months, three months have been ups. That’s the first thing is just really believing in yourself and what you have as a team and that will go a long way.

“And other than that, it’s really just how to be a pro, how to handle yourself on and off the court and really just embrace, you know, what we are doing. Like I’ve mentioned many times, we get to play basketball for a living and never taking that for granted because there’s rough times. Obviously right now, sucks, but like I said, you can never take any of this for granted. I mean, I was just in the Western Conference Finals. If you would have told me that when I was 15 years old, I’d have looked at you like I’d seen a ghost.

“Really, a lot of lessons learned and hopefully I can implement that to my life and career and move forward.”

It would have been easy for the Lakers to fold during the season, especially considering both Anthony Davis and LeBron James missed chunks of the year due to injury. But the Lakers never stopped fighting throughout the season and that continued into the playoffs.

Even as the Lakers were swept by the Nuggets, they had a chance to win every game and gave everything they had until the final seconds. There were multiple points where they could have packed it in and gotten blown out, but they always battled back and Reaves was a big part of that. And now that he has gotten a taste of playoff success, Reaves wants more.

“A lot. I mean, I said it to Bron after, I think it was Game 3 or 4 of the Memphis series and was just like, this is the most fun playing basketball I’ve had, just the group of guys that we’ve had, the level that we’ve played at, and me being a competitor, obviously I want to get back to this stage and even further and win the Championship, because you know, I know — I don’t know, but I know that there’s no better feeling than that, just talking with Bron, AD, guys that’s won championships.

“There’s no better feeling than that, so hopefully one day I can feel that.”

Reaves finished with 17 points in the final game of the year and averaged 21.3 points for the series to cap off an extremely impressive playoff run for himself individually. Now as he hits free agency he is set to cash in on his outstanding performance, and the Lakers undoubtedly want to keep him around so they can make another run next season.

Lakers expected to match any offer for Austin Reaves this summer

The good news for the Lakers is that Reaves is a restricted free agent so they can match any offer he receives which is huge because the Lakers are limited in what they can give him and other teams can offer Reaves more money.

And the expectation is exactly that as it is believed the Lakers will match any offer both Reaves and Rui Hachimura might receive this offseason as both were huge for the Lakers these playoffs.

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