Los Angeles Lakers guard Austin Reaves is poised for another breakout as he is coming off a successful run with Team USA during the 2023 FIBA World Cup.
Although Team USA finished fourth in the tournament, Reaves was able to build on the momentum he created during the 2023 NBA playoffs where he turned into the Lakers’ third-best player. The Lakers rewarded Reaves with a four-year, $54 million extension in the offseason and Darvin Ham has already said that the guard will handle more offensive responsibility during the 2023-24 season.
So far during training camp, Reaves has been getting rave reviews from the coaching staff and players for his play in scrimmages. That should be expected at this point considering what he’s done on the biggest stages, a great sign for Los Angeles as preseason tips off this weekend.
However, Ham announced that like LeBron James, Reaves will miss the opener against the Golden State Warriors.
“Austin won’t play either,” Ham said after practice on Friday. “He was great today, too. It’s hard for me to even say that, but the fact that it’s only preseason, we’ll have some other guys get a ton or reps. But Austin was unbelievable today in the scrimmage.”
Ham went on to elaborate that Reaves is not injured and had a great day of practice on Friday.
“We kicked the training wheels off today and he responded unbelievably. The kid looks great. Just his confidence and the way he commands with the ball in his hands, without the ball in his hands. His scrappiness, his IQ, his ability to make shots and get the defense off-balanced, he was doing all of that today.”
This shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise as Reaves has been playing competitive basketball the past two months and likely could use more of a break to refresh his body. Head coaches also typically don’t play their starters many minutes in preseason, so this is yet another indication that Ham will be heavily leaning on Reaves during the year.
Without Reaves on the floor, this will mean more minutes for the new additions like Gabe Vincent, Max Christie and rookie Jalen Hood-Schifino. Vincent will be backing up D’Angelo Russell off the bench while Hood-Schifino will likely spend the bulk of the season down in the G League with the South Bay Lakers.
However, Reaves should get some run during the preseason as the regular season gets closer. When that time comes, it’ll be exciting to see how he meshes alongside the other starters.
Darvin Ham says LeBron James has pre-injury burst back
While James won’t be playing against the Warriors, he is said to be looking healthy after spending most of the offseason rehabbing from a torn tendon in his right foot. During the early part of training camp, Ham has been keeping his eye on James and said that the superstar looks good and even has his pre-injury burst back.
Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in live shows, and more!