Lakers News: Phil Handy Believes Austin Reaves Can Be ‘A Special Player’
(Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images)

Austin Reaves is just 10 games into his career with the Los Angeles Lakers. However, he has already impressed the likes of LeBron James, Frank Vogel, Carmelo Anthony and Phil Handy. He has been one of the defensive anchors for a team desperate to get stops and has shown real prowess on the offensive end when healthy.

Reaves has become an early fan favorite due to his hard-nosed style of play and his high basketball IQ. Much like the former Lakers fan favorite, Alex Caruso, he shares an uncanny ability to dominate teams when playing next to James. The two have a net rating of 22.4 in 65 minutes together this season.

His minute fluctuated a lot in the first few games of the season, but it is clear that Frank Vogel was gaining trust in him before the hamstring injury.

Handy, the Lakers assistant coach in charge of player development, has been particularly impressed by Reaves, taking to Instagram to share his feelings on the undrafted Lakers rookie:

Statistically, Reaves’ numbers are yet to jump off the page. In 21.3 minutes per night, Reaves is averaging 6.1 points, 2.0 rebounds, and 1.0 assists on 47.8% from the field, 32.1% from three, and 100% from the free-throw line. However, that does not speak to his positive impact when on the court.

When the Lakers eventually get Reaves and other key players back from injury, it’s unclear what Reaves’ role will be. However, it’s safe to say that he’s earned a full-time spot in the rotation, even if the minutes are decreased.

At just 23 years old and with only seven NBA games under his belt, he already does things that are conducive to winning basketball. Alongside James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook, that’s exactly the type of player that can thrive.

Reaves dealing with hamstring issue

The injury that Reaves went down with is a hamstring issue that couldn’t have come at a worse time considering so many other key players have missed time. Reaves was originally given a timetable of around two weeks on Nov. 11 though, so he may not be far off from a return.

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