Although injuries dampened the preseason for the Los Angeles Lakers, there were a couple of encouraging developments that should have fans optimistic about the 2021-22 season.
The main takeaway was that Anthony Davis looks in shape and already close to midseason form after taking the summer to work on his body and health. However, the unexpected development has been Austin Reaves, who impressed enough in Summer League and training camp to earn a standard NBA deal.
Through six preseason outings, Reaves looked comfortable out on the floor and had a knack for making plays on both ends of the floor. Head coach Frank Vogel gave Reaves more minutes due to the injuries in the backcourt and admitted the rookie has stuck out to him.
“He’s done enough to earn my trust,” Vogel said. “Right now I can say that much. I feel good about everything he does out there. He really competes and knows where to be on the defensive end. The shot-making was a concern and he’s really shown to be a shot-maker throughout this preseason. What isn’t a concern is his feel and instincts to make plays. He’s excelled at that.
“We’ve got a deep team, so I don’t know if that means he’s in the rotation or not, but when his number’s called, he’s earned my trust for sure in this preseason.”
This is not the first time Vogel has praised Reaves as he previously discussed his versatile skillset, a welcomed sign for a team that lacks any long-term prospects. At this point, Reaves looks like one of the major steals of the draft and the scouting department should receive all the credit for unearthing another undrafted gem.
As for Reaves’ role on the team, he could very well earn rotation minutes early on given the injuries to Talen Horton-Tucker, Wayne Ellington, Kendrink Nunn and Malik Monk. While the Lakers are hopeful most of those players will be available at the start of the season, Reaves certainly has done enough to earn a look throughout the regular season.
LeBron James knew Austin Reaves as an NBA player at minicamp
LeBron James took it upon himself to host a players-only minicamp in Las Vegas in order to begin building the chemistry on the team and it was there that he knew Reaves was an NBA player. James revealed he watched film on the guard after the Lakers signed him, and that bodes well for his chances of sticking around for the long haul.
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