Austin Reaves has been a major boost to the Los Angeles Lakers the past couple of weeks, so Darvin Ham had no choice but to insert him into the starting lineup.
Reaves delivered on the promotion, scoring 25 points and dishing out 11 assists to lead the Lakers to a win over the Phoenix Suns. Reaves later said that his mindset didn’t change with the move and it definitely showed on the court that night.
However, Ham still had praise for Malik Beasley, who was willing to come off the bench and contribute in a smaller role.
“Salute to Beas, being a pro’s pro, understanding the strategic part of it,” Ham said. “Beas was locked in, ready, came off the bench and hit two big 3s for us and competed. So that’s what we need, man. That’s competitiveness but yet the togetherness that I’ve mentioned all year.”
D’Angelo Russell echoed Ham’s sentiments, saying his teammate has changed his ways and handled the situation well. “I think it’s just being a professional at this level. Nobody wants to look crazy, games are televised and stuff like that. There’s things that you might disagree on, so I just think he’s being a professional.
“Obviously you can say what you want about the game, but that won’t go unnoticed. Because I’ve been talking about it, and it’s huge for younger players in the league as well. You’re not gonna always have what you want but you have to take advantage of what you get. People see that, so kudos to him. He’s changed a lot since I’ve been around him and a lot of people were wrong about him for real.”
The lineup reconfiguration this late into the season is a risk, but the early returns show that perhaps the Lakers and Ham are on to something. It’ll be interesting to see how the new combinations play out, especially when LeBron James makes his way back.
Darvin Ham wants Malik Beasley to continue being aggressive shooting the basketball
Regardless of whether or not Beasley starts, Ham emphasized that he wants the marksman to keep shooting with confidence.
“Shoot, shoot, shoot, shoot, shoot. Stay aggressive. Do what you do. Keep the intensity on the defensive end, but don’t be discouraged. Whether it’s a hot night, and off night, it doesn’t matter. You’re a shooter that can score.
“And just encourage him to be aggressive. Constantly be aggressive, let him know that I’m all for him and have his back, the rest of the entire coaching staff and organization has his back. That’s what he was brought in for, for him to be a threat and remain a consistent threat. You’re gonna have your ups and downs when you’re throwing the ball up there that amount of times, but if that’s your thing, your niche, you just got to shoot through it and just continue to do what you do. Continue to put the work in and things will fall your way.”
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