By all accounts, Austin Reaves has worked hard throughout the summer to keep up the momentum from his rookie year with the Los Angeles Lakers in the upcoming 2022-23 season.
Reaves averaged 7.3 points, 3.2 rebounds and 1.8 assists over 61 games for the Lakers in 2021-22. His high-speed transition from an undrafted free agent to an important role player also earned him 19 starts in the second half of the season, with the Arkansas alum impressing former head coach Frank Vogel as well as LeBron James with his hustle and defensive instincts.
Some reports have claimed Reaves could remain in the Lakers’ starting lineup for the 2022-23 season despite Darvin Ham taking over from Vogel earlier this year. But the 24-year-old told The Athletic’s Shams Charania that L.A. can expect him to give his best in every game regardless of the role Ham will offer him:
“It’s always a goal, you know, to be in the starting five. But whatever role they want to give me, I’ll be happy to take and try to do that to the best of my abilities. Starting is always, especially as a Laker, I mean, with the guys that we have is cool but at the end of the day, I just want to win and accept whatever role they want me to have.”
Reaves and Thomas Bryant have reportedly been the “standout performers” in player workouts over the summer. The 6-foot-5 guard is also believed to have bulked up to over 209 pounds, which would be about 12 more than he officially weighed at the start of his rookie year.
The extra muscles should help Reaves become a more versatile defender, which would boost his case for one of the starting spots. The guard generally held his ground on defense last season but his slender frame did put him at a disadvantage in matchups against bigger wings.
Russell Westbrook lists L.A. home for nearly $30 million despite recent rumors pointing to his return to Lakers
It’s unclear who would partner Reaves in the Lakers’ backcourt if he indeed was to begin the 2022-23 season in the starting 5. The uncertainty mainly comes from the still lingering questions over Russell Westbrook’s future.
The latest rumors claimed that NBA executives think Westbrook will remain with the Lakers for the time being. However, the 2017 NBA MVP is said to be open to a trade.
Interestingly, Westbrook has reportedly listed his Los Angeles home in Brentwood for $29.995 million. However, he has owned the property since 2018, meaning the sale doesn’t necessarily suggest an impending exit.
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